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Cambridoe. MAasL 

(^ F-J-Ma^) 









Matt. xvin. 16, 16, 17. 
Moreover, if thy brother trespass against thee, go and tell 


Our Saviour, in the beginning of this chapter, exhorts 
his followers to become humble and harmless, as little chil- 
dren. — " Verily, I say imto you. Except ye be converted 
and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the 
kingdom of heaven." He next warns the world against 
abusing his harmless and inoffensive disciples. " Wo unto 
the world because of offences ! for it must needs be that 
offences come; but wo to that man by whom the offence 
Cometh ! " He then directs his followers how they should 
conduct under the offences, which they may receive from 
the world. And immediately after this, he proceeds to direct 
Christians what steps they must take, to settle difficulties 
and maintain peace and purity among themselves. " More- 
over, if thy brother (not one of the world) trespass against 
thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone : 
if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But 
if he wiU not hear thee, tVieiv \skft ^Sfiei ^^^ ^x^a. ^^ "^^^ 
more, that in the mouth of two or ^ilicLT^^ ^KXx^fc^^'ea. ^-^^^^^s^ 

1 ^^^ 


maybe established. And if he neglect to hear them, tell 
it unto the church, and if he neglect to hear the church, 
let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.'' 
This passage of Scripture suggests several things, which 
deserve a distinct and serious consideration. Accordingly, 
I propose, 

I. To consider the materials of which a church of Christ 
is formed ; 

II. To consider how these materials are formed into a 
church of Christ ; And, 

m. To consider what power, or authority, Christ has 
given to his church after it is regularly formed. 

I. Let us consider the materials of which a church of 
Christ is formed. 

There is a visible and invisible church. The invisible 
church comprehends all real saints, or all of mankind, who 
will be finally sanctified and saved. But by a visible church 
we are to understand a society of visible saints. By visible 
saints are meant such as profess to be real saints and appear 
to be so in the eye of Christian charity. Such persons as 
these are the materials, of which a church of Christ is 
formed. None were admitted into the church, under the 
Mosaic dispensations, but those, who made a public profes- 
sion of real grace, or true love to God. All, that belonged 
to that church, solemnly avouched the Lord to be their God 
and engaged to love him with all their hearts and to obey 
all his commands, which rendered them visible saints in the 
judgment of charity. And as to the gospel church, it is 
plain that it was composed of none but visible saints. No 
other but baptized persons were admitted to communion ; 
and no adult persons but 'such as professed repentance and 
faith, were admitted Vo baptism, which shows that they were 
visible saints. Of such materials was the church of Corinth 
composed ; for the apostle speaks to them as saints by profes- 
sion, ^' Unto the church of God wl[iieYi \a aX ^.OTYQJiJa., \o 


them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, 
with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus 
Christ our Lord." And he inscribes his epistle to the church 
of Ephesus in similar language. " Paul, an aposUe of 
Jesus Christ, by the will of God, to the saints, which are at 
' Ephesus and to the faithful in Christ Jesus." These in- 
scriptions plainly suppose, that the apostles considered the 
various churches which they had planted in different 
places, as visible saints, or professed friends and followers 
of Christ. Accordingly, Peter, in his epistle to the churches 
in general, addresses them under the character of real 
saints. "Ye also as lively stones, are built up a spiritual 
house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, 
acceptable to God by Jesus Christ" Here all the churches 
in the days of the apostles are represented as composed 
of livmg members ; such as were renewed, sanctified, and 
made meet for the Master's use. They were living branches 
of Christ the living vine, or living members of Christ the 
living Head. But such materials, while separate and un- 
connected, do not constitute a church of Christ, any more 
than the materials of Solomon's temple were a temple, 
before they were collected and framed into that sacred build- 
ing by the hands of artificers. This leads us to consider, 

II. How the materials, that have been mentioned, are 
formed into a church of Christ. 

The materials must be prepared, before they can be 
formed into this spiritual building. You remember, that all 
the materials for the temple were prepared before they were 
collected ; and when they were collected, there was nothing 
to do, but to put them together in that beautiful form, which 
was divinely prescribed. In this respect, I apprehend, the 
temple was intended to be a. type of the church, as well as 
of the incarnation of Christ. For the materials of a gos- 
pel church are all to be fitted and prepared by Divine grace, 
before they are collected andioTm.^^\Ti\ft ^^'^\x^xi.^\5^i2^^^J'^'^* 


It was certainly so in the days of the apostles. They 
prepared materials before they erected churches. They 
went from place to place and preached the . gospel ; and as 
many as professed to believe the gospel and were baptized, 
and being of a competent number, they formed into a dis- 
tinct church. But how did they form churchTes ? and how * 
are churches now to be formed ? or what is it that consti- 
tutes a number of visible saints a proper church ? I answer, 
A mutual covenant. It is by confederation, that a num- 
ber of individual Christians become a visible church of Christ. 
A number of professing Christians cannot be formed into a 
church without their freely and mutually covenanting to 
walk together in all the duties and ordinances of the gospel. 
They may be real and visible saints, while they remain un- 
connected and separate ; but they cannot be a proper church, 
without entering into covenant and laying themselves under 
certain obligations to each other, to live and act like Chris- 
tians. And as this is a point of great importance in the 
present discourse, I shall offer several considerations to 
support it. 

1. Confederation is the band of union among civil soci- 
eties ; and analogy requires the same band of union in a 
religious society. Civil government is founded in compact. 
Individuals are not a civil society, until they have formed 
themselves into one, by an explicit, or implicit compact, 
agreement, or covenant. Before they have laid themselves 
under a mutual engagement, they are unconnected indi- 
viduals, and have no power or authority over one another. 
But after they havje freely and voluntarily entered into a 
compact, or covenant to live and conduct towards one another 
according to certain laws, rules, and regulations, they become 
a civil society, vested with civil power and authority. And 
it is only by confederation, that individual Christians can 
form themsdves into a church and bind themselves to walk 
together according to' the rules of ihe gjoapeV. 


2. It is universally allowed, that a church of Christ have 
a light to watch over and discipline their own members. 
Bat individual Christians, before they are formed into a 
church state, have no such power over one another* They 
may, indeed, reprove or exhort one another privately ; but 
they have no right to call any one to account and censure 
him for breaking the laws of Christ, publicly and authorita- 
tively. But after they have engaged to watch over one an- . 
other and discipline one another for scandalous offences, then 
each individual becomes bound to submit. to the reproof, 
admonition, and censure of the whole body. His obligation 
to submit arises from the bond of the covenant, which he 
has made. I may add, 

3. That nothing besides a covenant can give form to a 
church, or be a sufficient bond of union. Mere Christian 
affection cannot. Though all Christian churches ought to 
be connected by the bond , of brotherly love, yet this alone 
is not sufficient to make a number of Christians a church of 
Christ This bond of union runs through all the Christian 
world, and cordially unites real Christians of all denomina- 
tions, though divided into various distinct societies. This 
common bond of union cannot be the principal bond of union 
in any particular church. Nor is cohabitation a sufficient 
bond of union in a congregational church. A number of 
Christians merely living in the same city, town, or parish, 
does not make them a church. Nor do they become a 
church, by usually meeting together for social, or public 
worship. Nor does baptism constitute a person a member 
of any particular church. ^Many of those strangers in 
Jerusalem, who were baptised on the day of Pentecost, 
probably never saw one another again after they left Jeru- 
salem ; so that their baptism could not make them members 
of any particular church. Thus it appears, that a number 
of Christians may form themaeWe^ \xAo ^ y^q^^ ^2k^^^*5S5. 

religious isociety, by a mutual coveawoX* \Ki 'v^S^ \w^^^ssKt^ 


all the commands and oixiinances of the gospel. It still 
remains to consider, 

III. What power, or authority, belongs to a particular 
church. It is granted by all, that every particular church 
has some ecclesiastical power. And since a particular 
church is formed by compact, or covenant, it hence appears, 
that a particular church does not derive its power from the 
church universal, but directly from Christ, the source of all 
ecclesiastical authority. We shall, therefore, consider it as 
an established point, that each particular church is pos- 
sessed of ecclesiastical power ; and, of course, we have only 
to inquire what kind of power is lodged in a particular 

And as to this, I would observe in general, that it is only 
ExeciUive power, Christ is the sole Lawgiver in the church. 
He has made all the laws by which it is to be governed. He 
has delegated no legislative power to a church, by which it 
has authority to make ecclesiastical laws, or canons. The 
church of Rome has manifested herself to be anti-christian, 
by claiming and exercising such a power. No particular 
church whatever has a right to make a single law, or canon 
to bind its members. It has only the right to execute the 
law, which Christ has made and published in the gospel. 
These laws are summarily comprised in the words of our 
text and are abundantly suflDicient, if properly and faithfully 
executed, to preserve the existence and to promote the edifi- 
cation and purity of the church. So much power every 
church needs, in order to prevent its crumbling to pieces, 
and to prevent, or cure any corruptions and disorders, 
that may arise in it. But to be more particular, I would 

1. That every church has a right to admit members into 
their own Christian communion, according to the rules of the 
gospel. It is essential to every voluntary society to admit 
wliom tbejr please into their number. TVvey at^vYife y^o^^x 


and competent judges to determine, who are worthy or un- 
worthy to be admitted. It would be very irrational to sui>- 
pose, that any particular church is obliged to admit every 
one that offers to join their holy communion. They have 
an undoubted right to judge, of the qualifications of pro- 
ponents, and receive, or reject them, according to an im- 
partial judgment of Christian charity. This right they never 
ought to give up. 

2. A church has a right to watch over and reprove one 
another in private. This right they have voluntarily given 
to each other, by their mutual covenant. They might, in- 
deedj have done this in a friendly manner, if they had not 
engaged to do it ; but after they have engaged to do it, they 
have a right to watch over and reprove one another authori- 
tatively, when they see any member visibly depart from the 
precepts, or prohibitions of the gospel. This is Christ's 
direction in the text. " If thy brother trespass against thee, 
go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone." And 
the apostle directs Christians, " to exhort one another daily, 
lest any should be hardened through the deceitfulness of 

' sin." 

3. A church has a right to discipline its members for 
unchristian conduct, by admonition and excommunication. 
This authority is expressly given to them by Christ himself 
in the words of our text. " Moreover, if thy brother tres- 
pass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee 
and him alone. And if he hear thee, thou^hast gained thy 
brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee 
one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three wit- 
nesses every word may be established. And if he shall 
neglect to hear them*, tell it to the church ; but if he neg- 
lect to hear the church let him be unto thee as an heathen 
man and a publican." This is all the ecclesiastical authority, 
that Christ has given to any particular church ; and this is 
only executive authority. As soow 3^^ ^xn.^ vi^\£^'^V<»ci^.^Ksssss- 


ber of Christians have voluntarily united and bound them- 
selves together, by confederation, to walk together and attend 
Divine ordinances, they are a regular gospel church, and 
invested with aR ecclesiastical power. But after they are 
regularly formed into a church, they still need to be organ- 
ized, which they have an independent power to do for them- 
selves. Every civil society has an inherent right to organ- 
ize its own government, by choosing and installing its own 
oflBicers. The same essential right every regularly formed 
church has to organize its own ecclesiastical government, by 
choosing and installing its own officers. This Commonwealth 
have a right to organize their own government, and this 
they do every year, by choosing their new officers and ap- 
pointing the lieutenant-governor, or some other magistrate, 
to administer the oaths of office to the governor and other 
state officers whom they have chosen. He, or they, who 
administer the oaths of office, do not convey any of their 
own power, but only the power of the State of those, to 
whom they administer the qualifying oaths. Just so the 
members of a church have a right to organize their own 
ecclesiastical government, by choosing and installing their 
own officers. They have a right to choose deacons and 
then to ordain them, as they judge most scriptural. And 
they have the same right to choose their own ministers ; 
and after that to install them into office. For ordination is 
nothing more than installing a minister into office. The 
ordainers do not convey any authority of their own, but only 
the authority of Christ, through the medium of the church, 
to the man they ordain, by which he is duly qualified to 
preach the doctrines and administer the ordinances of the 
gospel to his own people, and wherever he is called in 
providence to execute his ministerial office, with which 
Christ has invested him. I know that many suppose that 
the power of ordination is lodged in the hands of the clergy^ 
Independently of the church ; and tliat t\ua ipovi^x \ivva 'Si^i^xi 


tianded down in a lineal succession of ordained ministers 
from the days of the apostles to this day. But this is a 
very groundless opinion. For the line of succession has 
been often broken. It was broken in the time of Luther. 
He was excommunicated by the Pope, and all his ministerial 
authority taken away. It has been broken once and again 
in Britain. This Bishop Hoadly and all moderate church 
clergymen acknowledge. It has been broken in this country ; 
for the first ministers who came here, renounced all Epis- 
copal authority, and in one or two instances, stood by and 
saw a minister ordained by the brethren of the church.* 
Besides, there is something very absurd in the supposition, 
that ordained ministers have the sole right of ordaining 
others. Upon this supposition, let a particular church be 
ever so pure and orthodox, and choose an able and orthodox 
preacher to settle with them, they cannot have him for their 
pastor unless ministers are pleased to ordain him. This 
throws all the churches into the hands of ministers; and 
can we suppose that Christ meant to deprive churches of 
their inherent right to choose and install their own officers ? 
What would have become of the Dissenters in England, 
if they had no right to choose and install their own ministers ? 
What would have become of the churches in New England, 
if they had not had the right of choosing and installing their 
own ministers ? They would not have had one regular gospel 
minister to this day. And on this ground, the high church 
clergy maintain that there is not one regular Congregational 
minister in this country, who has a right to ordain others, or 
to administer baptism and the Lord's Supper. The truth is, 
ministers have no exclusive right to ordain others. The 
right of ordination is primarily and solely in the hand^ of 
the church. And when ministers do ordain, it is because 
they are incited and appointed by the church to do it* Thus 

*See Winthrop's History of 15e^"EkXi^saA,N'^.*\.^A'V^0^'^* 


the church has a right, after it is formed by confederation^ 
to organize itself by choosing and instalUng such officers as 
Christ has appointed, and these are bishops and deacons, 
and no other. There are but two orders of officers in the 
Christian church. There were three orders in the Jewish 
church, high-priest, priests, and Levites. But in a Christian 
church, there are only two distinct officers, bishops and dea- 
cons. And bishop, in the apostolic times, was a mere pas- 
tor, teacher, or watchman, without any superiority or power 
over any of his fellow pastors. He had only the watch and 
care and instruction of the particular church in which he 
was placed. No modem minister is a bishop, (jure divino,) 
but a mere creature of the State, and destitute of all divine 
authority to exercise dominion over any regular, gospel 
minister. In the 20th of Acts we read, "From Miletus 
Paul sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church, 
and said unto them, take heed unto yourselves, and to all the 
flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, 
to feed the church of God which he hath purchased with his 

. own blood." Overseers in this passage is translated from 
the word Episcopous in Greek, which properly signifies 
watchmen. The elders of Ephesus, whom the apostle calls 
bishops, were mere ministers of churches, who had no right 
to. wateh over one another, but only over the particular 
church and congregation over which God had made each 
of them a distinct pastor. That there were only two orders 
of officers in a primitive Christian church, appears from 
Paul's inscription in his Epistle to the Philippians. It is in 
these words : " Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus 
Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus, which are at Phi- 
lippi, tinth the bishops and deacons." That is, with the pas- 
tors and deacons, who were the only officers in that church. 
When a number of visible saints have formed themselves 
into a church, by confederation, and have organized it, by 

choosing and instaUing a pastor and deacons, \\iey «s^ \>^ 


come a regular Christian church and are prepared to exer- 
cise every act of ecclesiastical power, according to the direc- 
tions, which Christ has given them in our text. This is the 
only code of laws, which Christ has given to any church, 
in order to maintain their own peace and purity, harmony 
and edification. The steps specified in this code of laws, the ' 
church are bound to take in every act of discipline towards 
their brethren. Every church has an inherent right to dis- 
cipline its own members, without consulting any pastor, or 
church, or presbytery, or synod, or council, or bishop, or 
pope, on the face of the earth. Councils, presbyteries, 
synods, and general assemblies, are of mere human device, 
and have no ecclesiastical authority over any individual 
gospel church. It is at the option and discretion of any 
particular church, whether they shall, or shall not ask coun- 
sel in any case of church discipline, and if they do ask 
counsel of others, their advice is only advisory, which they 
have a right to accept or reject. If we depart from the 
platform of church discipline, which Christ has given us in 
this 18th chapter of Matthew, there is nothing in Scripture 
to prevent our being Presbyterians, or Episcopalians, or Pa- 


1. K every church be formed by confederation and has 
an independent right to exercise all ecclesiastical power, 
then they have a right to dismiss their own minister, when- 
ever they judge he has forfeited his ministerial character. 
As the church liave a right to choose and ordain their own 
minister, so they must have, of course, a right to dismiss him 
for what they deem good reasons. Those who have a right 
to put into office, have a right to put out of office. The 
church either puts their ministers into o^l^dQ,^ o^ ^<i\fe??g!ik^i. 
power to neighboring mimsleva lo ^o \\, ^o^ ^^\s!k^>5?^^>^ >si 


the same thing as doing it themselves. Therefore, as neigh- 
boring ministers could not place a pastol* over them without 
their consent; so they cannot put away or dismiss their 
pastor without their consent. The voice of the church must 
always be had in every act of discipline. Now, if a council 
cannot dismiss a minister without the consent of the church, 
then it clearly appears, that the right of dismission belongs 
solely to the church, who may dismiss their minister without 
the advice, or contrary to the advice of a council, if they 
think he has forfeited his ministerial character; but not 
otherwise. Before he was ordained, he was a mere candi- 
date for office; and whilst he stood in that predicament, 
they had a right to dismiss him from their service, if they 
were displeased with his voice, his style, or any other mere 
personal defect ; and call another upon trial. But after he 
is ordained, he no longer stands in the situation of a candi- 
date ; and the church have no longer a right to dismiss him 
imless they judge he is so heterodox in sentiment, or corrupt 
in practice, as to be unqualified for the sacred work of the 
ministry. If a church dismiss a minister without his consent, 
they must dismiss him as a man unfit for the pastoral office 
in any other place, and refuse to recommend him. The 
connection between a pastor and people is too sacred and 
important to be dissolved upon every trifling mistake on 
either side. 

2. It appears from the nature of church government, 
that a pastor has no right to negative the votes of the churcli. 
This right has been too often claimed and exercised by 
Congregational ministers. But there is no ground in reason, 
or Scripture, for this arbitrary power. The church, we have 
seen, is only an executive body, who have no power to make 
laws, but only to execute the laws which Christ has made 
and given them. It is absurd to suppose, that an executive 
body should have a negative upon one another. The chief 
Judge of the supreme court has no ne^aXYve oxv \\v^ ^A% 


judges, nor they upon him ; for this plain reason, that they 
must bring the matter before them to a decisioiu But this 
could not be if they had a negative upon each other. So in 
a church, if a pastor could negative their votes, he might 
prevent them from bringing any cause to a decision. If the 
pastor might negative all the votes and doings of the church, 
they would really have no power at all, and never be able to 
determine any point, or decide any cause. The truth is, he is 
but a mere moderator ; and in respect to voting, stands upon 
the same ground with a private brother. If the church 
vote any thing contrary to his opinion, he may object, like 
any other member, but is bound, ex-afficio, to put the vote, 
without personally approving it. Or if the church should 
pass a sentence of sucli a nature and so circumstanced that 
he thinks himself bound in duty to do all in his power to 
obstruct the execution of the sentence, he may refuse to put 
the vote, and relinquish his office. No man is obliged to 
violate his conscience in any office he sustains. If a sheriff 
were required to execute a man, whom he knew to be inno- 
cent, he might refuse to act at the risk of his office. The 
minister has no more controlling power over the church, 
than a speaker of the house of representatives has over that 
house; and* that house has no more controlling power over 
the speaker, than he has over them. So the church is a 
mere executive body, and the minister is a mere executive 
officer. Neither the church, nor the pastor has any other 
power, but to execute the laws of Christ according to his 
directions in the text. Ecclesiastical power is one of the 
plainest things in nature ; and had churches and ministers 
only followed the directions of Christ in 'our text, there 
never would have been any disputes and controversies about 
ecclesiastical authority, or about councils, presbyteries, synods, 
bishops, patriarchs, or popes. These are not to be found in 
the 18th of Matthew, and not iiv t\i^ ^^^ T^^\jsssis^\ji^.. '''S>esss^ 
are mere human inventions, and conXx^T^ \ft '^cxv:^vNct'^% ^X^os^ 


church is a mere executive body, and have no power to do 
any thing, but only to execute the laws of Christ according 
to his plain directions in this eighteenth of Matthew. All 
the present disputes about councils mutual, and ex parte 
councils, in respect to their authority, are vain and useless ; 
because they have no divine authority at all. And all the 
present disputes about the power of ordination, and the 
power of ordained ministers, are equally vain and absurd. 
For there is no. power of ordination but what is lodged in 
every church of Christ ; and no church of Christ can give 
any power to their officers, but what Christ has given to 
every one of his ministers. The disputes about ecclesias- 
tical power never will be, nor can be settled, until the 
churches will return to the platform of ecclesiastical power 
contained in our text, from which not only Papists, Episco- 
palians,' Presbyterians, but even Congregationalists, have 
too far departed. 

3. Since every church is formed by its own voluntary 
confederation, one church is neither superior, nor inferior to 
another in point of authority ; but every church is entirely 
independent. There is no other necessary bond of union 
between individual churches, but brotherly love. This all 
Christian churches ought to exercise towards one another. 
Any number of professing Christians may form themselves 
into a church by confederation, and exercise all ecclesiastical 
power among themselves, without any special connection 
with, or dependence on any other church in the world. All 
ecclesiastical authority comes from Christ and not from any 
particular church, or churches. One church has as much 
power as another. All churches are sisters, and stand upon 
a level. They may associate, or consociate for mutual 
advantage. But no church have a right to give up their 
pow^ to an association, or consociation, or council, or any 
other ecclesiastical body. Churches have no right to unite 
/or the purpose of concentrating and incrcasmw \\ie\t ew\s^\- 


astical authority. An association, or consociation, or coun- 
cil have no more power than any single churches of which 
those bodies are composed. But it seems to be a very 
general opinion, that churches can concentrate and increase 
their power, by union. It is upon this principle of union, that 
a presbytery is supposed to have more power than a single 
church ; that a synod has more power than a single presby- 
tery; that the general assembly has more power than a* 
single synod; and that the pope at the head of what is 
called the universal church has more power than all other 
ministers and churches in the world. If the premises are 
granted, these consequences must follow. If churches may 
concentrate and increase their power by union ; then an 
association may have more power than a single church ; a 
consociation may have more power than an association ; a 
synod may have more power than a presbytery ; a general 
assembly may have more power than a synod; and the 
church universal, with his holiness at their head, may have 
more power than all other churches and all other clergymen 
in the world. Congregationalists often complain of Presby- 
terians, Episcopalians, and Papists, on account of their church 
government ; but they have no reason to complain , when they 
concentrate and increase their ecclesiastical power by union 
with associations, consociations, and ecclesiastical councils, 
for then they act upon precisely the same principle. When 
any church gives up its independence to any other ecclesi- 
astical body, it gives up all its power. But Christ has given 
no power to churches which they may give away. Congre- 
gational churches, at this day, ought to be on theu* guard, 
and strenuously maintain their independence. 

4. It appears from the veiy nature of church govern- 
ment, that there is no appeal from the authority of a par- 
ticular church to any higher ecclesiastical tribunal. Every 
church have a right to trai\s>afc\. ?^ \3cifcYt ^^^^^x^>^o^^%S^ 
matters, independently of any oXJaet ^\\xOcl. '^Nisxs. *^siss^ 


undeitake to discipline any member, they have a right to 
pursue the steps which Clirist has pointed out and continue 
the process, until they have brought the matter to a final 
conclusion. This is agreeable to Christ's platfonn of church 
government. "Moreover, if thy brother tresspass against 
thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone ; 
if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But 
* if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two 
more, that in* the mouth of two or three witnesses every 
word may be established. And if he neglect to hear them, 
tell it unto the church, but if he neglect to hear the church, 
let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican." 
Christ here gives no direction to the censured person to 
appeal to any higher tribunal to take off the censure ; nor 
to the church to call a council for advice. The censured 
person has no right to appeal to any higher ecclesiastical 
tribunal for relief, because there is no higher ecclesiastical 
tribunal on earth, to which he can appeal ; and the church 
have no right .to submit their decision to the decision of any 
higher tribunal. But wliat if the church should misjudge 
and censure a man unjustly, is there no way to rectify their 
mistake? If the man feels himself injured, he may ask 
the church to xeconsider the case and they may comply with 
his request. Or he may ask them to call a council and lay 
his case before a council ; and they may comply with his 
request. But what if they do reconsider his case and not 
reverse their decision ? or what if they do call a council, 
whicH advises them to reverse their decision, but they will 
not follow their advice ? Is there no other way for him to 
find relief? None at all. There must be a final decision ; 
and the church must make it. But is not this hard ? It 
must be allowed that it is hard. But no harder, than if his 
case were referred to a council and they should not advise 
the church to reverse their decision ; or than if his case 
should be referred to a second, or third, or ever so many 


councils ; and all advise the church to confirm their decision. 
There must be a stop somewhere ; and it may be as well 
that the stop should be in the church as in any other ecclesi- 
astical body ; and better, for Christ himself has directed the 
church to put an end to the process. But after all, the man 
may be injured. That is true ; and no man has reason to 
expect that justice will always be done him, in this errone- 
ous world. The human device of giving power to associa- 
tions, or consociations, or councils, to decide in ecclesiastical 
causes, has been 9, fruitful source of ecclesiastical injustice, 
tyranny, and persecution. The plain and simple congrega- 
tional mode of deciding ecclesiastical causes and difficulties 
is far the easiest, wisest, and best. No ecclesiastical decision 
ought to be taken out of the hands of a particular church, 
where Christ has lodged it ; for he has appointed no ecclesi- 
astical tribunal superior to that of an individual churclv, 
to which either the body, or members of a church may 

5. Every mode of church government is destructive of 
the rights and liberties of every Christian church, except 
strict Congregationalism. Presbyterianism is destructive of 
the independence of every Christian church, and robs it of 
all the power and authority which Christ has given it. No 
presbyterian church has a right to invite a candidate to 
preach among them without the consent of the presbytery, 
and after they have invited him and are willing to settle 
him, they cannot get him ordained without the consent of 
the presbytery. And if he should be corrupt in sentiment 
or practice, they could not discipline him according to the 
steps that Christ has pointed out. He would first appeal to 
the presbytery, and if they should condemn him, he would 
appeal to the synod ; and if they should condemn him, lie 
could appeal to the general assembly, which might be hun- 
di'eds of miles from his people ; and if they should justify 
him, his people could have no relief. It is easy to see that 



this mode of church government is destructive to the rights 
of any particular church. So is Episcopalianism. An 
Episcopalian church has no independence ; the government 
of it is in the hands of archbishops, bishops, and other 
inferior clergy. You know that all the protestant- world 
have loudly complained of the ecclesiastical tyranny of the 
church of Rome ; and justly, which has destroyed the inde- 
pendence of all the churches of the popish religion. Every 
mode of church government, except strict congregational- 
ism, is hostile to that perfect platform of church govern- 
ment which Christ has given us in the 18th of Matthew ; 
and is more or less tyrannical. These human hierarchies, 
which have been the source of immense evils in the Chris- 
tian world, ought to be destroyed ; and they will undoubtedly 
be destroyed in the time of the millennium. They are the 
bulwarks of error, delusion, and every species of moral 
corruption, and must be purged out of the Christian world, 
before the church can become universally pure and flourish. 
We have long been praying for the downfall of unchristian 
power and tyranny in the church of Rome ; and we ought 
to pray for the downfall of every degree of that unchristian 
power in every other church in the world. 

6. This subject shows the superior excellency of that 
ecclesiastical government, which Christ has appointed in his 
church. It is neither monarchical, like the church of Rome, 
nor aristocratical, like the Presbyterian church ; but a pure 
democracy, which places every member of the church upon 
a level and gives him perfect liberty with order. If any one 
commits an offence, he is to be tried by his peers, by his 
Christian friends, and by the whole ecclesiastical body to 
which he belongs. The whole plan of government is founded 
in benevolence ; and every step in the execution of it is to 
be taken in benevolence. The first step of discipline is 
perfect]y benevolent and friendly. The offended brother 
js to treat the offender in a kind, tender, \>eiveNo\^w\, Tftaxv\i^x^ 


by telling him his fault in private and endeavoring to bring 
about a cordial reconciliation. But if he fails of obtaining 
his friendly object in this first step, he is not allowed to bring 
the offender before the church in a rash and precipitate 
manner. He must take one or two with him, to act the 
part of grand-jurymen and determine whether there is ground 
to bring the cause before the church. If they say, there is 
not sufficient cause to bring the matter before the church, 
he cannot bring it. This step is perfectly benevolent and 
designed to prevent any . vexatious complaint from being 
brought into the church. Or if the ckse is brought before 
the church, the offender has a fair trial by his peers and the 
whole body of his Christian friends and not by the pastor, 
or one or two brethren, who migh| possibly be prejudiced 
against him ; and he has no right to think that the whole 
church are prejudiced against him. If they condemn him, 
therefore, he has reason to believe that they have acted 
from pure, benevolent motives, and with a friendly design 
to bring him to repentance. And to such a sentence, 
whether correct or incorrect, he ought cordially to submit 
and properly improve it. 

Now if any should think, that there is something severe 
and unbenevolent in Christ's directing the church to treat 
the* excommunicated person as an heathen man and publican, 
it may be proper to explain the meaning of that direction. 
We are not, perhaps, to understand it, as some have under- 
stood it, to forbid the members of the church to eat and drink 
with an excommunicated man at common meals, or to treat 
him with the ' common marks of civility. It only requires 
them to treat him as a man of the world, and withdraw from 
him all Christian fellowship and communion. This and 
every other step of discipline is exactly suited to bring the 
offender to repentance and reformation, and to save his soul 
from death. It is a dark mark a^OKv^V ^^c^^^'s^^qt^^^^'^^^ 
that they are generally so baclovax^ \jo ^Y^Oaax^ '^^ ^^»^ ^ 


go ;jKjl (li. cijjline towards their offending brethren. By this 
neglect, they may suffer the leaven of corruption to spread 
gradually until it has leavened the whole lump and ruined 
the whole church. Let professors keep themselves in the 
love of God, and purge the beams out of their own eyes, that 
they may see clearly to purge the motes out of their brother's 
eye. Perform this duty properly, and you will have the 
approbation of Christ, of the reproved and reformed, of the 
world, and of your own consciences. And now please to 
remember, that your peace, purity, and edification unitedly 
bind you, to stand •fast in the liberty wherewith 
CHRIST HAS MADE YOU FREE ; and maintain your original 
Congregational principles in opposition to every other mode 
of church government. If Presbyterians and others should 
tell you, that Christ has not instituted any particular /orm of 
church government, refer them to the 18th of Matthew, 
which ought to silence them. But if they deny that any 
platform of government is there instituted, ask them to show 
you the passage, or the passages in the iTew Testament, in 
which Christians are required to exercise any kind of eccle- 
siastical authority, or discipline over one another. No man 
can tell. All, who depart from Christ's platform of church 
government, make one of their own, which must be unscrip- 
tural, unreasonable, and tyrannical. This has been, for ages, 
confirmed by all the persecutions to which Christians have 
been subjected. All persecutions have originated from ec- 
clesiastical tyranny. But it is impossible for persecution 
to arise in strictly Congregational churches. They inflict 
no civil penalties on delinquents. Their discipline terminates 
in excommunication. Maintain Congregational discipline 
and you are safe, but not otherwise. 









The more we di^ern the unkind, and unbrotherly, and un- 
christian contentions of our godly brethren and countrymen in 
matters of church government, the more earnestly do we desire 
to see them join together in one common faith, and ourselves 
with them. For this end, having perused the. jUihlicXIoafiassion 
oLJIaith, agreed upon by the reverend assembly of divines 
at Westminster, and finding the sum and substance thereof, in 
matters of doctrine, to express not their own judgments only, 
but ours also ; and being likewise called upon by our godly 
magistrates, to draw up a public confession of that faith which 
is constantly taught, and generally professed amongst us ; we 
thought good to present unto them, and with them to our 
churches, and with them to all the churches of Christ abroad, 
our professed and hearty assent and attestation to the whole 
Confession of Faith (for substance of doctrine) which the rev- 
erend assembly presented to the religious and honorable par- 
liament of £ngland : excepting only some sections which con- 
cern points of controversy in church discipline ; touching which 
we refer ourselves to the draft of church discipline in the 
ens.uing treatise. 

The truth of what we here declare may appear by the unani- 
mous vote of the Synod of the Elders and Messengers of our 
churches, assembled at Cambridge, the last of the sixth month, 
1648, which jointly passed in these words : This synod having 
perused and considered, with much gladness of heart, and 
thankfulness to God, the Confession of i'^\\k^Y^\^^^VvfiA^^V6&3^ 
by the reverend assembly in EngAand^ ^o Vi^\L^ *'*• ^ \«fc^^2c% 


holy, orthodox, and judicious in all matters of faith ; and do 
therefore freely and fully consent thereunto, for the substance 
thereof. Only in those things which have respect to church 
government and discipline, we refer ourselves to the Platform 
of Church Discipline, agreed upon by this present assembly ; 
and do therefore think it meet, that this Confession of Faith 
should be commended to the churches of Christ amongst us, 
and to the honored court, as worthy of their due consideration 
and acceptance. 

The Lord Jesus commune with all our hearts in secret, and 
he who is the king of his church, let him be pleased to exercise 
his kingly power in our spirits, that so his kingdom may come 
into our churches in purity and peace. Amen. 



Of the fonn of church government ^ and that it is one, immatable, and 

prescribed in the word. 

1. Ecclesiastical polity, or church government or 
discipline, is nothing else but that form and order that is 
to be observed in the church of Christ upon earth, both 
for the constitution of it, and all the administrations that 
therein are to be performed. 

£zek. xllii. 11. Col. ii. 5. 1 Tim. iii. 15. 

2. Church government is considered in a double re- 
spect, either in regard of the parts of government them- 
selves, or necessary circumstances thereof. The parts of 
government are prescribed in the word, because the Lord 
Jesus Christ, the king and lawgiver of his church, is no 
less faithful in the house of God than was Moses, who 
from the Lord delivered a form and pattern of government 
to the children of Israel in the Old Testament : and the 
holy Scriptures are now also so perfect, as they are able 
to make the man of God perfect, and thoroughly furnished 
unto every good work ; and therefore doubtless to the well 
ordering of the house of God. 

Heb. iii.d,6. £zod.zxv.40. 2 Tim. iii. 16. 

3. The parts of church government are all of them 
exactly described in the word of God, being parts or 
means of instituted worship, according to the second 
commandment, and therefore to continue one and the 
same unto the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, as a 
kingdom that cannot be shaken, until he shall deliver it 



up unto God, even the Father. So that it is not left 
in the power of men, officers, churches, or any. state in 
the world to add, or diminish, or alter any thing in the 
least measure therein. 

1 Tim. iii. 15. I Chron. zv. 13. Ex. zx. 4. 1 Tim. vi. 13, 16. Heb. zii. 
27, 28. 1 Cor. zv. 24. Deut. zii. 3:2. Elzek. zliii. 8. 1 Kings, zii. 31-^. 

4. The necessary circumstances, as time and place, 
d&c, belonging unto order and decency, are not so left 
unto men, as that under pretence of them they may thrust 
their own inventions upon the churches, being circum- 
scribed in the word with many general limitations, where 
they are determined in respect of the matter, to be neither 
worship itself, nor circumstances separable from worship. 
In respect of their end, they must be done unto edifica- 
tion. In respect of the manner, decently and in order, 
according to the nature of the things themselves, and civil 
and church custom. Doth not even nature itself teach 
you ? Yea, they are in some sort determined particularly, 
namely, that they be done in such a manner, as, all cir- 
cumstances-considered, is most expedient for edification: 
so, as if there be no error of man concerning their deter- 
mination, the determining of them is to be accounted as 
if it were divine. 

2 Kings, zii Ex xx. 19. Isa. zzviii. 13. Col. i. 22, 23. Acts, zv. 28. 
Matt. XV. 9. 1 Cor. xi. 23, and viii. 34. 1 Cor. xiv. 26, and xiv. 40, and zi. 
14, 16, and xiv. 12, 19. Acts, zv. 28. 


Of the nature of the catholic church in eeneral, and in special of a particular 

visible church. 

1. The catholic (;.hv^''^'h is the whole company of those 
that are elected, redeemed, and in time effectually called 
from the state of sin and death, unto a state of grace and 
salvation in Jesus Christ. 

£ph. i. 22, 23, and v. 25, 26, 30. Heb. zii. 23. 

2. This church is either t riumphant, or militanL 
Triumphant, the number of them wYio »x^ ^o\>Sve^ \sk 


heaven : militant, the number of them who are conflicting 
with their enemies upon earth. 

Rom. viii. 17. S Tim. U. 12, and iv. 8. Eph. ri. IS, 13. 

3. This miUtfin* Tth'^r^^ is to be considered as jpirU^Kl^^ 
and visible. iC fiudaJM^. in respect of their relation wherein 
they stand to Christ, as a body unto the head, being 
united untojbixa by the Spirit of God, and faith in their 
hearts. ^ ^isibl> f in respect of the profession of their faith, | 
in their persons, and in particular churches. And so/ 
there may be acknowledged an universal visible church. | 

2 Tim. ii. 19. Rev. ii. 17. 1 Cor. vi. 17. Eph. ui. 17. Rom. i. 8. 1 
Tbest. i. 8. Isa. ii. 2. 1 Tim. vi. 12. 

4. The members of the militant visible church, con- 
sidered either as not yet in church-order, or as walking 
according to the church-order of the gospel. In order, 
and so besides the spiritual union and communion com- 
mon to all believers, they enjoy moreover an union and 
communion ecclesiastical-political. So we deny an uni- 
versal visible church. 

Acts, zix. 1. Col. ii. 5. MaU. zviii. 17. 1 Cor. v. 12. 

5. The state of the members of the militant visible 
church walking in order, was either before the law, eco* 
nomical, that is in families ; or under the law, national; 
or since the coming of Christ, only congregational : (The 
term independent we approve not.) Therefore neither 
national, provincial nor classical. 

Gen. xviii. 19. Ezod. xix. 6. 

6. A Congregational church is by the institution of 
Christ a part of the militant visible church, consisting of 
a company of saints by calling, united into one body by 
a holy covenant, for the public worship of God, and the 
mutual edification one of another, in the fellowship of the 
Lord Jesus. 

1 Cor. xiv. 23, 36, and i. 2, and xii. 27. Exod. xix. 6, 6. DeuU xxix. 1, 
and 9 to Id. Acts, ii. 42. 1 Cor. xiv. 26. 



Of the matter of the visible church, both in respect of quality and quantity. 

1. The matter of a visible. r.hiirr.h are saints b y calling. 

1 Cor. i. 2. Eph. i. 1. 

2. { By saintj. we understand, 1. Such as have not only 
attained thi^ IfnpwIptfgA r^f tbp prinriplAs nf TPligipn^ and 
are f ree fioro gross q nd ^p^" c/»a«/<aiQ^ but also do to- 

gftthpr withjh fi prof^ss ipp nf thpjr faith and rpppntanr.ft^ 

w alk in blameless ob ftdipnnfi to t^^ m^i-H^ so as that in 
charitable discretion they may be accounted saints by 
calling, though perhaps some or more of them be unsound, 
and hypocrites inwardly, because the members of such 
particular churches are commonly by the Holy Ghost 
called saints and faithful brethren in Christ ; and sundry 
churches have been reproved for receiving, and suffering 
such persons to continue in fellowship amongst them, as 
have been offensive and' scandalous; the name of God 
also by this means is blasphemed, and the holy things of 
God defiled and profaned, the hearts of the godly grieved, 
and the wicked themselves hardened, and helped forward 
to damnation. The example of such doth endanger the 
sanctity of others : a little leaven leaveneth the whole 
lump. 2. Thfr f*bilHrpn of such, who are also holy. 

Heb. vi. 1. 1 Cor. i. 5. Rom. xv. 14. Ps. 1. 16, 17. Acts, viii. 37. Matt, 
iii. 6. Rom vi 17. 1 Cor. i. 2. Phil. i. 2. Col. i 2. Eph. i. 1. 1 Cor. v. 12, 
13. Rev. il. 14, 15, %). Ezck xiiv. 7, 9, and xxiii. 38, 39. Num. xix 20. 
Bag. ii. 13, 14. 1 Cor. xi. 27, 29. Psal. xxxvii. 21. 1 Cor. v. 6. 1 Cor. 
vii. 14. 

. ^^^. The members of churches, though orderly constitu- 

^/ji'^ted, may in time degenerate, and grow corrupt and 

^\ ^candalous, which though they ough t notjo .bejglfirated 

i n the church, ye t th eir continuance TEerei n, through the 

Refect of the execution of discipline and just censures, 

doth not immediately dissolve the being of the church, as 

appears in the church of Israel, and the churches of 

Galatia and Corinth, Pergamus and Thyatira. 

Jer.iLSl. ICor,v,n, Jer.ii.4. Gal.v.4. aCot.xa.!L\. 1^«v,\\.\V 
/^ andxxi, 21, 


4. The matter of the church in respect of its quantity. 
ought not to be of greater number than may ordinarily 
meet together conveniently in one place ; nor ordinarily 
fewer, than may conveniently carry on church-work. 
Hence when the holy Scripture makes mention of the 
saints combined into a church-estate, in a town or city 
where was but one congregatio n, it usually calleth those 
saints The Churdu in the sinfrular number; as. The 
church of the Thessalonians, The church of Smyrna, 
Philadelphia, and the like ; but when it speaketh of the 
saints in a nation ^r prny'"**-^! wherein there were sundry 
congregations, it frequently and usually calleth them by 
the name of Chi^rr'hes, in the plural number, as the 
churches of Asia, Galatia, Macedonia, and the like ; 
which is further confirmed by what is written of sundry 
of those churches in particular, how they were assembled 
and met together, the whole church in one place, as the 
church at Jerusalem, the church at Antioch, the church 
at Corinth, and Cenchrea, though it were more near to 
Corinth, it being the port thereof, and answerable to a 
village, yet being a distinct congregation from Corinth, it 
had a church of its own, as well as Corinth had. 

1 Cor. ziv. 21. Matt, xviii. 17. Rom. zvt 1. 1 Thess. i. 1. Rev. ii. 8, and 
Hi. 7. I Cor. xvi. 1, 19. Gal. i. 2. 2 Cor. viii. I. 1 'Fhess. ii. 14. Acts, ii. 
46, and v. 12, and vi. 2, and xiv. 27, and xv. 38. 1 Cor. v. 4, and xiv. 23. 
Kom. xvi. 1. 

5. Nor can it with reason be thought but that every 
i^hurch appointed and ordained by Christ, had a ministry 
ordained and appointed for the same ; and yet plain it is, 
that there were no ordinary o ffic ers appoin ted by Christ 

my other than congregation al churcnesj" elder s being 

for any 

appointed to feed, not all flocks, but that particular flocj 
of God over which the Holy Ghost had made them over- 
seers, and that flock they must attend, even the whole 
flock ; and one con^egation being as much as any ordi- 
nary elders can attend, therefore there is no greater church 
than a congregation, which may ordinarily meet in one 
Acts, XX, 28. 



Of the form of a visible church, and of church covenant. 

1. Saints by calling must have a visible political union 
amongst themselves, or else they are not yet a particular 
church, as those similitudes hold forth, which the Scrip- 
ture makes use of to show the nature of particular 
churches, as a body, a building, or house, hands, eyes, 
feet, and other members must be united, or else (remaining 
separate) are not a body. Stones, timber, though squared, 
hewn and polished, are not a house, until they are com- 
pacted and united ; so saints or believers, in judgment of 
charity, are not a church, unless orderly knit together. 

1 Cor. xii. 27. 1 Tim. iii. 15. Eph. ii. 22. 1 Cor. xii. 16, 16, 17. 


2. Particular churches cannot be distinguished one 
from another, but by their forms : Ephesus is not Smyrna, 
nor Pergamus, Thyatira, but each one a distinct society 
of itself, having officers of their own, which had not the 
charge of others ; virtues of their own, for which others 
are not praised; corruptions of their own, for which 
others are not blamed. 

Rev. i. 

3. This form is the visible covenant, agreement, or 
consent, whereby they give up themselves unto the Lord, 
to the observing of the ordinances of Christ together in 
the same society, which is usually called the church 
covenant : For we see not otherwise how members can 
have church-power one over another mutually. The 
comparing of each particular church unto a city, and unto 
a spouse, seemcth to conclude not only a form, but that 
that form is by way of covenant. The covenant, as it 
was that which made the family of Abraham, and children 
of Israel, to be a church and people unto God, so it is 
that which now makes the several societies of Gentile- 
believers to be churches in these days. 

Exod xix. 5, 8. Deut. xxix. 12, 13. Zech. xi. 14, and ix. 11. Eph. ii. 19. 
2 Cor. xi. 2. Gen. xvii. 7. Deut. xxix. 12, 13. Eph. ii. 12, 19. 

4, This voluntary agreement, consetil, ot c^oncii^tiX^ 
/%r al/ these are here taken for the aaxne,^ ^xXiOM^ \Xv^ 


more express and plain it is, the more fully it puts us in 
mind of our mutual duty, and stirreth us up to it, and 
leaveth less room for the questioning of the truth of the 
church-estate of a company of professors, and the truth of 
membership of particular persons ; yet we conceive the 
substance of it is kept, where there is a real agreement 
and consent of a company of faithful persons to meet 
constantly together in one congregation, for the public 
worship of God, and their mutual edification ; which real 
agreement and consent they do express by their constant 
practice in coming together for the public worship of 
God, and by their religious subjection unto the ordinances 
of God there ; the rather if we do consider how Scripture- 
covenants have been entered into not only expressly by 
word of mouth, but by sacrifice, by hand writing and seal, 
and also sometimes by silent consent, without any writing 
or expression of words at all. 

Exod. xix 5, and xx. 8, and xxiv. 3, 17. Josh. xxiv. 18-24. Psalm 1. 5. 
Neh. ix. 38, and x. 1. Gen. xvii. Deut. xxix. 

5. This form being by mutual covenant, it followeth, it 
is not faith in the heart, nor the profession of that faith, 
nor cohabitation, nor baptism. 1. Not faith in the heart, 
because that is invisible. 2. Not a bare profession, be- 
cause that declareth them no more to be members of one 
church than of another. 3. Not cohabitation : atheists or 
infidels may dwell together with believers. 4. Not bap- 
tism, because it presupposeth a church-estate, as circum- 
cision in the Old Testament, which gave no being unto the 
church, the church being before it, and in the wilderness 
without it. Seals presuppose a covenant already in being. 
One person is a complete subject of baptism, but one 
person is incapable of being a church. 

6. All believers ought, as God giveth them opportunity 
thereunto, to endeavor to join themselves unto a particular 
church, and that in respect of the honor of Jesus Christ, 
in his example and institution, by the professed acknowl- 
edgment of, and subjection unto the order and ordinances 
of the gospel ; as also in respect of their good of commu- 
nion, founded upon their visible union, and contained in 
the promises of Christ's special presence in the church ; 
whence they have fellowship m\Xv Yivav^^aiAL \\v\ssss!w<5Sttfc. 

with another; also, for the keei^va^ ol\!iv'ea3iL\s2L>iafc^"»J\ ^ 


God's commandments, and recovering of them in case of 
wandering, (which all Christ's sheep are subject to in this 
life,) being unable to return of themselves ; together with 
the benefit of their mutual edification, and of their pos- 
terity, that they may not be cut off from the privileges of 
the covenant. Otherwise, if a believer offends, he remains 
destitute of the remedy provided in that behalf. And 
should all believers neglect this duty of joining to all 
particular congregations, it might follow thereupon, that 
Christ should have no visible political churches upon 

Acts, ii. 47, and ix. 26. Bfatt. iii. IS, 14, 15, and xzviii. 19, SO. Psalm 
cxxxiii. 2, 3, and Ixxxvii. 7. Matt, xviil 20. 1 John, i. 3. Ps. cxix. 176. 
1 Peter, ii. 25. £ph. iv. 16. Johj», xxii. 24, 25. Matt. xvui. 15, IG, 17. 


Of the first subject of church power ; or, to whom church power doth first 


The first subject of church power is either supreme or 
subordinate and ministerial ; the supreme, by way of gift 
from the Father, is the Lord Jesus Christ : The ministe- 
rial is either extraordinary as the apostles, prophets and 
evangelists; or ordinary, as every particular Congrega- 
tiond church. 

Mat. xviii. 18. Rev. iii. 7. Isa. ix. 6. John zx. 21, 23. 1 Cor. xiv. 32. 
Tit. i. 5. 1 CJor. v. 12. 

2. Ordinary church power, is either the power of 
office, that is, such as is proper to the eldership, or power 
of privilege, such as belongs unto the brotherhood. The 
latter, is in the brethren formally, and immediately from 
Christ, that is, so as it may be acted or exercised - imme* 
diately by themselves ; the former is not in them formally 
or immediately, and therefore cannot be acted or exer- 
cised immediately by them, but is said to be in them, in 
that they design the persons unto office, who only are to 
act, or to exercise this power. 

Jiom* JKu, 4, 8» iletoi.23, andvi.3,4,aiidx\v.^. vew.x.<^,^. 



Of the oflicers of the church, and especially of paatora and teacb eri. 

1. A CHURCH being a company of people combined to- 
gether by covenant for the worship of God, it appeareth 
thereby, that there may be the essence and being of a 
church without any officers, seeing there is both the form 
and matter of a church ; which is implied when it is 
said, \he apostles ordained elders in every church. 

Acts, xiv. 23. 

2. Nevertheless, though officers be not absolutely 
necessary to the simple being of churches, when they be 
called, yet ordinarily to their calling they are, and to 
their well being ; and therefore the Lord Jesus, out of his 
tender compassion, hath appointed and ordained officers^ 
which he would not have done, if they had not been 
useful and needful for the church ; yea, being ascended 
into heaven, he received gifts for men, and gave gifts to 
men, whereof officers for the church are justly accounted 
no small parts, they being to continue to the end of the 
world, and for the perfecting of all the saints. 

Rom. X. 17. Jer. iii. 15. 1 Cor. xii. 28. Eph. iv. 11. Psalm Ixviii. 18. 
Eph. iv. 8, ll.andiv. 12,13. 

3. These officers were either extraordinary or ordinary : 
extraordinary, as apostles, prophets, evangelists; ordinary, 
as elders and deacons. The apostles, prophets, and 
evangelists as they were called extraordinarily by Christ, 
so their office ended with themselves ; whence it is that 
Paul directing Timothy how to carry along church- 
administrations, giveth no direction about the choice or 
course of apostles, prophets, or evangelists, but only of 
elders and deacons ; and when Paul was to take his last 
leave of the church of Ephesus, he committed the care 
of feeding the church to no other, but unto the elders of 
that church. The like charge doth Peter commit to the 

1 Cor. xii. 28. Eph. iv. 11. Acts, vuv.6, \6,\^,«dA t\.^. '^^jcRSk. ib».» 
13. I Cor. iv. 9. i Tim. iii. 1 , t, ft lo \^. T\\.\. b. feA\&,Tct.W ,"«.. V 
PeL V, 1, 2, 3. 



4. Of elders, who are also in scripture called bishops, 
some attend chiefly to the ministry of the word, as the 
pastors and teachers ; others attend especially unto rule, 
who are therefore called ruling elders. 

1 Tim. ii. 3. Phil. i. 1. Acts, xx. 17, 28. 1 Tim. v. 7. 

5. The office of pastor and teacher, appears to be dis- 
tinct. The pastor's special work is, to attend to exhorta- 
tion, and therein to administer a word of wisdom ; the 
teacher is to attend to doctrine, and therein to administer 
a word of knowledge ; and either of them to administer 
the seals of that covenant, unto the dispensation ^whereof 
they are alike called ; as also to execute the censures, 
being but a kind of application of the word : The preach- 
ing of which, together with the application thereof, they 
are alike charged withal. 

Eph. iv. II. Horn. xii. 7, 8. 1 Cor. xii. 8. 2 Tim. iv. I, 2. Titus, i. 9. 

6. And forasmuch as both pastors and teachers are 
given by Christ for the perfecting of the saints, and edify- 
ing of his body ; which saints and body of Christ is his 
church : therefore we account pastors and teachers to 
be both of them church officers, and not the pastor for 
the church, and the teacher only for the schools : Though 
this we gladly acknowledge, that schools are both lawful, 
profitable and necessary for the training up of such in 
good literature or learning, as may afterwards be called 
forth unto office of pastor or teacher in the church. 

Eph. iv. 1 1, 12. and i. 22, 23. 1 Sam. x. 12, 19, 20. 2 Kings, it. 3, 15. 


or mijng <*i^«^"' and dfig^9"*- 

1. The ruling elder's office is distinct from the office of 
pastor and teacher. The ruling elders are not so called, 
to exclude the pastors and teachers from ruling, because 
ruling and governing is common to these with the other ; 
whereas attending to teach and preach the word is 
peculiar upto the former » 

/^om. xii, 7, 8, 9. J Tim. v. 17. I Cor. x\l. 1». He\>.xvvi.Vl. YTvau 
: 17. 


2. The ruling elder's work is to join with the pastor 
and teacher in those acts of spiritual rule which are dia* 
tinct from the ministry of the word and sacraments com- 
mitted to them. Of which sort these be as followeth : 
1. To open and shut the doors of God's house, by the 
admission of members approved by the church ; by 
ordination of officers chosen by the church; and by 
excommunication of notorious and obstinate offenders 
renounced by the church ; and by restoring of penitents 
forgiven by the church. 2. To call the church together 
when there is occasion, and seasonably to dismiss them 
again. 3. To prepare matters in private, that in public 
they may be carried to an end with less trouble, and more 
speedy dispatch. 4. To moderate the carriage of all 
matters in the church assembled; as, to propound matters 
to the church, to order the season of speech and silence^ 
and to pronounce sentence according to the mind of 
Christ, with the consen;t of the church. 5. To be guides 
and leaders to the church, in all matters whatsoever per- 
taining to church-administrations and actions. 6. To 
see that none in the church live inordinately, out of rank 
and place, without a calling, or idly in their calling. 
7. To prevent and heal such offences in life or in doc- 
trine, as might corrupt the church. 8. To feed the flock 
of God with a word of admonition. 9. And as they 
shall be sent for, to visit and to pray over their sick 
brethren. 10. And at other times as opportunity shall 
serve thereunto. 

1 Tim. V. 17. 2 Chron. xxiii. 19. Rev. xxi. 12. 1 Tim. iv. 14. Mat. 
xviii. 17. 2 Cor. ii. 7, 8. Acts, ii. 6, and xxi. 18, 22, 23, and vi. 2, 3, and 
xiii. 15. 2 Cor. viii. 19. Heb. xiii. 7, 17. 2 Thess. ii. 10, 11, 12. Acts, xx. 
28, 32. 1 Thess. v. 12. James, v. 14. Acts, xx. 20. 

3. The office of a deacon is instituted in the church by 
the Lord Jesus ; sometimes they are called helps. The 
scripture telleth us how they should be qualified, " Grave,' 
not double tongued, not given to much wine, not given to 
filthy lucre." They must first be proved, and then use 
the office of a deacon, being found blameless. The 
office and work of the deacon, is to receive the offerings of 
the church, gifls given to the church, and to keep the 
treasury of the church, and lYiet^mVlft. \ft ^^r*^^ ^^ n^s^'^*. 
wbicb the church is to pioVide lot \ ^a ^"fc \jsst^^ \2^^^> 


the table of the ministers, and of such as are in necessity, 
to whom they are to distribute in simplicity. 

Acts, vi. 3,6. Phil. i. 1. \ Tim. iii. 8. 1 Cor. xH. 28. 1 Tim. iu. 8, 9. 
AetSy iv. 35, and vi. S, 3. Rom. xii. 8. 

4. The office therefore being limited unto the care of 
the temporal good things of the church, it extends not unto 
the attendance upon, and administration of the spiritual 
things thereof, as the word and sacraments, or the like. 

1 Cor. vii. 17. 

5. The ordinance of the apostle, and practice of the 
church, commends the Lord's day as a fit time for the 
contributions of the saints. 

1 Cor. xvL 1, 2, 3. 

6. The instituting of all these officers in the church, is 
the work of God himself, of the Lord Jesus Christ, of the 
Holy Ghost : and therefore such officers as he hath not 
appointed are altogether unlawful either to be placed in 
the church, or to be retained therein, and are to be looked 
at as human creatures, mere inventions and appoint- 
ments of man, to the great dishonor of Christ Jesus, the 
Lord of his house, the king of his church, whether popes, 
patriarchs, cardinals, arch-bishops, lord-bishops, arch- 
deacons, officials, commissaries, and the like. These 
and the rest of that hierarchy and retinue, not being 
plants of the Lord's planting, shall all be certainly rooted 
out and cast forth. 

1 Cor. xii. 28. Eph. iv. 8, 11. Acts, xx 28. Mat. xv. 13. 

7. The Lord hath appointed ancient widows, where 
they may be had, to minister in the church, in giving 
attendance to the sick, and to give succour unto them, 
and others in the like necessities. 

1 Tim. V. 9, 10. 


Of the election of church oflSce rs. 

I. No man may take the honor of a church officer 
mitto himself, hut he that is called o{ God, %a n«^ K«xqtx« 


2. Calling unto office is either immediate, by Christ 
himself, such was the call of the apostles and prophets ; 
this manner of calling ended with them as hath been 
said : or mediate, by the church. 

Gal. i. 1. Acts, xiv. 23, and vi. 3. 

3. It is meet that before any be ordained or chosen 
officers, they should first be tried and proved ; because 
hands are not suddenly to be laid upon any, and both 
elders and deacons must be of honest and good report. 

1 Tim. V. 22, and vii. 10. Acts, xvi. 2, and vi. 3. 

4. The things in respect of which they are to be tried, 
are those gifls and virtues which the scripture requireth 
in men that are to be elected into such places, viz. that 
elders must be blameless, sober, apt to teach, and endued 
with such other qualifications as are laid down, 1 l^im. iii. 
2. Tit. i. 6 to 9. Deacons to be fitted as is directed, 
Acts, vi. 3. 1 Tim. iii. 8 to 11. 

5. Officers are to be called by such churches where- 
unto they are to minister. Of such moment is the 
preservation of this power, that the churches exercised it 
in the presence of the apostles. 

Acts, xiv. 23, and i. 23, and v'l, 3, 4, 5. 

6. A church being free, cannot become subject to any, 
but by a free election ; yet when such a people do choose 
any to be over them in the Lord, then do they become 
subject, and most willingly submit to their ministry in the 
Lord, whom they have so chosen. 

Gal. V. 13. Heb xiii. 17. 

7. And if the church have power to choose their 
officers and ministers, then in case of manifest unworthi- 
ness and delinquency, they have power also to depose 
them : for to open and shut, to choose and refuse, to 
constitute in office and remove from office, are acts 
belonging to the same power. 

Rom. xvi. 17. 

8. We judge it much conducing to the well being and 
communion of churches, thai ^Vv^t^ \\. \si'a:^ ^As«?*^v5Ksfi^ 
be done, neighbour churcYies \>^ ^^^Vv^j^^^V^'^^^^x^^'^SNseaL 



kdp made use of in the trial of church cheers, in 
order to their choice. 

Caul. viiL 8, 9. 

9. The choice of such church officers helongeth not to 
the civil magistrates, as such, or diocesan bishops, or 
patrons ; for of these, or any such like, the Scripture 
10 wholly silent, as having any power therein. 


Of 7rdin^*'^"i aocl imposition of hands. 

1. Church officers are not only to be chosen by the 
church, but also to be ordained by imposition of hands 
and prayer ; with which, at the ordination of elders, fasting 
also is to be joined. 

Acts, xiii. 3, and xiv. S3. 1 Tim. ▼. 82. 

2. This ordination we account nothing else, but the 
solemn putting of a man into his place and office in the 
church, whereunto he had right before by election ; being 
like the installing of a magistrate in the commonwealth. 
Ordination therefore is not to go before, but to follow 
election. The essence and substance of the outward 
calling of an ordinary officer in the church, doth not con- 
sist in his ordination, but in his voluntary and free 
election by the church, and in his accepting of that elec- 
tion ; whereupon is founded that relation between pastor 
and flock, between such a minister and such a people. 
Ordination doth not constitute an officer, nor give him the 
essentials of his office. The apostles were elders without 
imposition of hands by men ; Paul and Barnabas were 
officers before that imposition of hands, Acts, xiii. 3. 
The posterity of Levi were priests and Levites, before 
hands were laid on them by the children of Israel. 

Numb. viii. 10. Acts, vi. 6, 6, and xiii. 2, 3, and xiv. 23. 

3. In such churches where there are elders, imposition 
of hands in ordination is to be performed b^ Ikoee eldet«. 
J Tim. iv. 14, Acts, xiii. 3. 1 Tim. v. VSt, 


4. In such churches where there are no elders, imposi- 
tion of hands may be performed by some of the brethren 
orderly chosen by the church thereunto. For if the peo- 
ple may elect officers, which is the greater, and wherein 
the substance of the office consists, they may much more 
(occasion and need so requiring) impose hands in ordina- 
tion, which is less, and but the accomplishment of the 

Numb. viii. 10. 

5. Nevertheless, in such churches where there are no 
elders, and the church so desire, we see not why imposi- 
tion of hands may not be performed by the elders of other 
churches. Ordinary officers laid hands upon the officers 
of many churches : the presbytery at Ephesus laid hands 
upon Timothy, an evangelist ; the presbytery at Antioch 
laid hands upon Paul and Barnabas. 

1 Tim. iv. 14. Acts, xiii. 3. 

6. Church officers are officers to one church, even that 
particular church over which the Holy Ghost hath made 
them overseers. Insomuch as elders are commanded to 
feed, not all flocks, but that flock which is committed to 
their faith and trust, and dependeth upon them. Nor 
can constant residence at one congregation be necessary 
for a minister, no, nor yet lawful, if he be not a minister 
to one congregation only, but to the church universal ; 
because he may not attend one part only of the church 
whereto he is a minister, but he is called to attend unto all 
the flock. 

1 Pet. V. 2. Acts, zx. 28. 

7. He that is clearly loosed from his office-relation 
unto that church whereof he was a minister, cannot be 
looked at as an officer, nor perform any act of office in 
any other church, unless he be again orderly called uijito 
office ; which when it shall be, we know nothing to hin- 
der, but imposition of hands also in his ordination ought to 
be used towards him again. For so Paul the apostle re- 
ceived imposition of hands twice at least from Ananias. 

. Acts, ix. 17, aad xiii. 3. 



Of the power of the chnrch aod its presbytery. 

1. Supreme and lordly power over all the churches 
upon earth doth only belong unto Jesus Christ, who is 
king of the church, and the head thereof.^ He hath the 
government upon his shoulders, and hath all power given 
to him, both in heaven and earth. 

Psalm ii. 6. Eph. i. 21, 22. Isa. ix. 6. Matt zxviii. 18. 

2. A company of professed believers ecclesiastically 
confederate, as they are a church before they have 
officers, and without them ; so even in that estate, sub- 
ordinate church-power under Christ, delegated to them by 
him, doth belong to them, in such a manner as is before 
expressed, chap. v. sect. 2, and as flowing from the very 
nature and essence of a church : it being natural to all 
bodies, and so unto a church body, to be furnished with 
sufficient power for its own preservation and subsistence. 

Acts, t. 23, and xiv. 23, and vi. 3, 4. Matt, xviii. 17. 1 Cor. v. 4, 5. 

3. This government of the church is a mixt govern- 
ment, and so hath been acknowledged long before the 
term of independency was heard of In respect of 
Christ, the head and King of the church, and the sove- 
reign power residing in him, and exercised by him, it is 
a monarchy ; in respect of the body or brotherhood of the 
church, and power from Christ granted unto them, it 
resembles a democracy; in respect of the presbytery, 
and power committed unto them, it is an aristocracy. 

Kev. iii. 7. 1 Cor. v. 12. 1 Tim. v. 17. 

4. The sovereign power which is peculiar unto Christ, 
is exercised, 1. In calling the church out of the world 
into holy fellowship with himself 2. In instituting the 
ordinance of his worship, and appointing his ministers 
and officers for the dispensing of them. 3. In giving 
laws for the ordering of all our ways, and the ways of 
his house. 4. In giving power and life to all his institu- 

tions, and to his people by them. 5. In ^loV^cxiwv^ ^\A. 


delivering his church against and from all the enemies of 
their peace. 

iial i. 4. Rev. v. 8, 9. Matt zxviii. 20. Eph. iv. 8, 1 1. James, iv. IS. 
Isa. xxxiii. 22. 1 Tim. iii. 15. 2 Cor. x. 4, 5. Isa. xxxii. 2. Luke, i. 71. 

5. The power granted by Christ unto the body of the 
church and brotherhood, is a prerogative or privilege 
which the church doth exercise, 1. In choosing their 
own officers, whether elders or deacons. 2. In admission 
of their own members ; and therefore there is great reascm 
they should have power to remove any from their fellow- 
ship again. Hence in case of offence, any brother hath 
power to convince and admonish an offending brother ; 
and in case of not hearing him, to take one or two more 
to set on the admonition ; and in case of not hearing 
them, to proceed to tell the church ; and as his offence 
may require, the whole church hath power to proceed to 
the public censure of him, whether by admonition or ex- 
communication ; and upon his repentance, to restore him 
again unto his former communion. 

Acts, vt. 3, 5, and xiv. 23, and ix. 26. Matt, xviii. 15, 16, 17. Tit. iii. 10. 
Col. iv. 17. 2 Cor. ii. 7, 8. 

6. In case an elder offend incorrigibly, the matter so 
requiring, as the church had power to call him to office, 
so they have power according to order (the council of 
other churches, where it may be had, directing thereto) to 
remove him from his office ; and being now but a mem- 
ber, in case he add contumacy to his sin, the church that 
had power to receive him into their fellowship, hath also 
the same power to cast him out, that they have concern- 
ing any other member. 

Col. iv. 17. Rom. xvi. 17. Matt xviiL 17. 

7. Church government or rule, is placed by Christ in 
the officers of the church, who are therefore called rulers, 
while they rule with God ; yet in case of maladministra- 
tion, they are subject4o the power of the church, as hath 
been said beforfe. The Holy Ghost frequently, yea 
always, where it mentioneth church rule, and church 
government, ascribeth it to elders ; whereas the work and 
duty of the people is expressed in the phrase of obeying 
their elders, and submitting themsft\Ne» \ss!iL\.ci\3wea!w\sv Nlsii, 

Lord, So as it is manifest, tVia.! «3ft. OT^«sC\ti ^\ ^ys«ss$^^«w 


church is a body politic, consifting of some that are 
governors, and some that are governed in the Lord. 

1 Tim. V. 17. Heb. xiii. 17. 1 Tbess. y. 12. Rom. xu. 8. 1 Cor. xii. 
28, 29. Heb. xiii. 7, 17. 

8. The power which Christ hath committed to the elders, 
is to feed and rule the church of God, and accordingly to 
call the church together upon any weighty occasion ; 
when the members so called, without just cause, may not 
refuse to come ; nor when they are come, depart before 
they are dismissed ; nor speak in the church before they 
have leave from the elders ; nor continue so doing when 
they require silence ; nor may they oppose nor contra- 
dict the judgment or sentence of the elders, without 
sufficient and weighty cause, because such practices are 
manifestly contrary unto order and government, and inlets 
of disturbance, and tend to confusion. 

Acts, XX. 28, and vi. 2. Numb. xvi. 12. Ezek. xlvi. 10. Acts, xiii. 15. 
Hos. iv. 4. 

9. It belongs also unto the elders to examine any 
officers or members, before they be received of the 
church; to receive the accusations brought to the church, 
and to prepare them for the church's hearing. In hand- 
ling of offences and other matters before the church, they 
have power to declare and publish the council and will of 
God touching the same, and to pronounce sentence with 
consent of the church. Lastly, they have power, when 
they dismiss the people, to bless them in the name of the 

Rev. ii. 2. 1 Tim. v. 19. Acts, xxi. 18, 22, 23. 1 Cor. v. 4, 5. Num. vi. 
23 to "26, 

10. This power of government in the elders, doth not 
any wise prejudice the power of privilege in the brother- 
hood ; as neither the power of privilege in the brethren, 
doth prejudice the power of government in the elders, but 
they may sweetly agree together ; as we may see in the 
example of the apostles, furnished with the greatest 
church power, who took in the concurrence and consent 
of the brethren in church administrations. Also that 
scripture, 2 Cor. ii. 9, and x. 6, do declare. That what 
the churches were to act and do in these matters^ they 

frere to do in a way oif obedience, and \Xi«X noi o\:\^ \ft 


the direction of the apostles, but also of their ordinary 

Acts, xiv. 15, 23, and vi. 2. 1 Cor. v. 4. 2 Cor. ii. 6, 7. Heb. xiii. 17. 

11. From the premises, namely, That the ordinary 
power of government belonging only to the elders, power 
of privilege remaineth with the brotherhood, (as power of 
judgment in matters of censure, and power of liberty in 
matters of liberty ; ) it followeth, that in an organic 
church, and right administration, all church acts proceed 
after the manner of a mixt administration, so as no 
church act can be consummated or perfected without the 
consent of both. 


or the maintenance of church officers. 

1. The apostle concludes, that necessary and suiSi- 
cient maintenance is due unto the ministers of the word, 
from the law of nature and nations, from the law of 
Moses, the equity thereof, as also the rule of common 
reason. Moreover, the scripture doth not only call elders 
laborers, and workmen, but also speaking of them, doth 
say, that the laborer is worthy of his hire ; and requires 
that he which is taught in the word, should communicate 
to him in all good things ; and mentions it as an ordi- 
nance of the Lord, that they which preach the gospel, 
should live of the gospel ; and forbiddeth the muzzling 
of the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. 

1 Cor. ix 14, 15. Matt. U. 38, and x. 10. 1 Tim. v. la. Gal. vi. 6. 
1 Cor. ix. 9, 14. 

2. The scriptures alledged, requiring this maintenance 
as a bounden duty and due debt, and not as a matter of 
alms and free gift, therefore people are not at liberty to do 
or not to do, what and when they please in this matter, 
no more than in any other commanded duty, and prdi- 
nance of the Lord ; but ought of duty to minister of their 
carnal things, to them that laboT amoii^%X\X\&\!Ck\\^^^CN&H«^x^ 
and doctrine, as well aa they oxi^x. Xo "^^ ^«si^ ^^^&ksi 

workmen their wages, and to discharge and satisfy their 
other debts, or to submit themselves to observe any other 
ordinance of the Lord. 

Rom. XV 27. 1 Cor. ix. 21. 

3. The apostle (Gal. vi. 6. ) enjoining that he which is 
taught communicate to him that teacheth in all good 
things, doth not leave it arbitrary, what or how much a 
man shall give, or in what proportion, but even the latter, 
as well as the former, is prescribed and appointed by the 

1 Cor. xvi. 2. 

4. Not only members of churches, but all that are 
taught in the word, are to contribute unto him that teach* 
eth, in all good things. In case that congregations are 
defective in their contributions, the deacons are to call 
upon them to do their duty ; if their call sufficeth not, the 
church by her power is to require it of their members ; 
and where church power, through the corruption of men, 
doth not, or cannot attain the end, the magistrate is to 
see the ministry be duly provided for, as appears from the 
commended example of Nehemiah. The magistrates are 
nursing-fathers, and nursing-mothers, and stand charged 
with the custody of both tables ; because it is better to 
prevent a scandal that it may not come, and easier also, 
than to remove it when it is given It is most suitable to 
rule, that by the church's care each man should know his 
proportion according to rule, what he should do, before 
he do it, that so his judgment and heart may be satisfied 
in what he doth, and just offence prevented in what is 

Gal. vL 6. A€t8, vi. 3, 4. Neb. ziii. 1 1 . Isa. zliz. 23. 2 Cor. viii. IS, 14. 


Of admission of members into the church. 

I. The dooTs of the churches of ChT\Bl wi^oa e«xl\\^ do 
M90i by God's appointment stand ao wide o^eii^x^oAX ^ 


sorts of people, good or bad, may freely enter therein at 
their pleasure ; but such as are admitted thereto as mem- 
bers, o ught to be examined and tried first, whether they 
be fit and meet to be received into church-society, or not. 
The eunuch of Ethiopia, before his admission, was 
examined by Philip, whether he did believe on Jesus 
Christ with all his heart. The angel of the church at 
Ephesus is commended for trying such as said they were 
apostles, and were not. There is like reason for trying of 
them that profess themselves to be believers. The officers 
are charged with the keeping of the doors of the church, 
and therefore are in a special manner to make trial of the 
fitness of such who enter. Twelve angels are set at the 
gates of the temple, lest such as were ceremonially un- 
clean should enter thereinto. 

2 Chron xxHi. 19. Matt. xiit. 125, and xxii. 12. Acts, viii. 37. Rev. ii. 2. 
Acts, ix. 26. Rev. xxi. J 2. 

2. The things which are requisite to be found in all 
church members, j^tp^. rfiffptnn/P. froni fiin, ^"^ f"''^ "* 
Jftsn g^ Chfist ; and therefore these are the things whereof 
men are to be examined at their admission into the 
church, and which then they must profess and hold forth 
in such sort, as may satisfy rational charity that the 
things are there indeed. John Baptist admitted men to 
baptism, confessing and bewailing their sins; and of 
others it is said, that they came, and confessed and 
showed their deeds. 

Acts, ii. 3S to 42, and viii. 37. Matt. iii. 6. Acts, xix. 18. 

3. The weakest meas ure *^{ faith ia to be accepted in 
those that desire to be admitted into the church, because 
weak Christians, if sincere, have the substance of that 
faith, repentance and holiness which is required in church 
members ; and such have most need of the ordinances 
for their confirmation and growth in grace. The Lord 
Jesus would not quench the smoking flax, nor break the 
bruised reed, but gather the tender lambs in his arms and 
carry them gently in his bosom. Such charity and ten- 
derness is to be used, as the weakest Christian, if sincere, 
may not be excluded nor discouraged. -^fiYP''^^y ^f **t- 

syninatinn ifi tn hfi avmdpd 
Rom. xiv. i. Malt. xii. 20. Isa. x\. W. 



4. In case any through excessive fear, or other infir- 
mity, be unable to make their persona] relation of their 
^iritual estate in public, it is sufficient that the elders , 
hairing received pfiy^te sati sfaction, make r elati pn thereo f 
in piihlifi l ^^.fnre the i j '^hnrc h, they ^estjfying thPir aPflfntfl 

t hereunt o ; tfhia hfii"g thf y^y ♦^^^ tfpjfifh fPOP^ *" P^'fi- 
%ti^Pi- V"^ where persons are of greater abilities, there 
it is most expedient that they make their relations and 
confessions personally with their own mouth, as David 
professeth of himself 

Psalm Ixvi. 16. 

5. A pers^^na] and piihlj^. r ^nnff> <4aiftnj anH A^^\^\r.^ ^ 
n^'n mapy^pr nf y|rnrkipg npon th^ snnj^ is both lawful, 

expedient and useful, in sundry respects, and upon sundry 
grounds. Those three thousand. Acts ii. 37, 41, before 
they were admitted by the apostles, did manifest that 
they were pricked in their hearts at Peter's sermon, 
together with earnest desire to be delivered from their 
sins, which now wounded their consciences, and their 
ready receiving of the word of promise and exhortation. 
We are to be ready to render a reason of the hope that is 
in us, to every one that asketh us ; therefore we must be 
able and ready upon any occasion to declare and^s how 
our Repen tance for sin, faith^unfeifflej^and e ffectual call- 
ingjji&cause. jhese ^ are^ the reasons JoTa Twell grounded 
hope. I have not hidden thy righteousness from the 
great congregation. 

J Pet. iii. 15. Heb. xi. 1. Eph. i. 18. Psalm xl. 10.' 

6. ThigjT>!X^{p.<^^ftp of iai^,li ""^ repentanrej aS it must 

be made by such at their admission, that were never in 
church-society before ; so nothing hindereth but the same 
way also be performed by such as have formerly been 
members of some other church, and the church to which 
they now join themselves as members may lawfully 
require the same. Those three thousand. Acts ii., which 
made their confession, were members of the church of 
the Jews before, so were they that were baptized by John. 
Churches may err in their admission, and persons regular- 
ly admitted may fall into offence. Otherwise, if churches 
might obtrude their members, or \i c\vutc\v \xv^x«vVi^\^ 
might obtrude themselves upon otYiet cYiwxc^aa^ v«\\\ioviX 


due trial, the matter so requiring, both the liberty of 
churches would hereby be infringed in that they might 
not examine those, concerning whose fitness for com- 
munion they were unsatisfied ; and besides the infringing 
of their liberty, the churches themselves would unavoid- 
ably be corrupted, and the ordinances defiled, whilst they 
might not refuse, but must receive the unworthy ; which 
is contrary unto the scripture, teaching that all churches 
are sisters, and therefore equal. 

Matt iii. 5, 6. Gal. ii. 4. 1 Tim. v. 24. Cant. viii. 8. 

7. The like trial is to be required from such members 
of the church as were born in the same, or received their 
membership and were baptized in their infancy or minor- 
ity, by virtue of the covenant of their parents, when 
being grown up unto years of discretion, they shall desire 
to be made partakers of the Lord's supper ; unto which, 
because holy things must not be given unto the unworthy, 
therefore it is requisite, that t hese as well as other a 
should <5 op)fr tift *^f^'ir *r'}ft] ancj fi^arq jnation^ and m^i ^ifeat 
t heir fait h apH rp pftntancft by q^n npftn profession thereo f^ 
Kf>fnrA i]}^y arA ]-f;f»pivftfl in fhp T.nrH's supper, and othe r- 
wise not to be adm^ted thereunto. Yet these church 
members that were so born, or received in their child- 
hood, before they are capable of being made partakers of 
fiiH rnmnuin''^^^ have many privileges which others, not 
church members, have not ; they are in covenant with 
God, have the seal thereof upon them, viz. baptism ; and 
so if not regenerated, yet are in a more hopeful way of 
attaining regenerating grace, and all the spiritual bless- 
ings both of the covenant and seal : they are also under 
church-watch, and consequently subject to the reprehen- 
sions, admonitions, and censures thereof, for their healing 
and amendment, as need shall require. 

Malt. vii. 6. 1 Cor. xi. 27. 


Of chorch members, their removal from one church to another, and of 

recommendation and dismission. 

1. Church members may not remove or depart from 
the church, and so one from another as they please, nor 
without just and weighty cause, but ought to live and 
dwell together ; forasmuch as they are commanded, not to 
forsake the assemblinor of themselves toorether. Such 
departure tends t6 the dissolution and ruin of the body, 
as the pulling of stones and pieces of timber from the 
building, and of members from the natural body, tend to 
the destruction of the whole. 

Heb. X. 25. 

2. It is therefore the duty of church members, in such 
times and places where counsel may be had, to consult 
with the church whereof they are members about their 
removal, that accordingly they having their approbation, 
may be encouraged, or otherwise desist. They who are 
joined with consent, should not depart without consent, 
except forced thereunto. 

Prov.xi 16. 

3. If a member's departure be manifestly unsafe and 
sinful, the church may not consent thereunto ; for in so 
doing, they should not act in faith, and should partake 
with him in his sin. If the case be doubtful, and the 
person not to be persuaded, it seemeth best to leave the 
matter unto God, and not forcibly to detain him. 

Rom. xiv. 23. 1 Tim. v. 22. Acls, xxi. 14. 

4. Just reasons for a member's removal of himself 
from the church, are, 1. If a man cannot continue with- 
out partaking in sin. 2. In case of personal persecution ; 
so Paul departed from the disciples at Damascus. Also 
in case of general persecution, when all are scattered. 
3. In case of real, and not only pretended want of com- 
petent subsistence, a door being opened for better supply 
in another place, together with the means of spiritual 


edification. In these, or like cases, a member may law- 
fully remove, and the church cannot lawfully detain him. 

Eph. V. 1 1. Acts, ix. 25, 29, SO, aod viii. 1. Neh. xiii. 20. 

5. To separate from a church, either out of contempt 
of their holy fellowship, or out of covetousness, or for 
greater enlargements, with just grief to the church ; or 
out of schism, or want of love, and out of a spirit of con- 
tention in respect of some unkindness, or some evil only 
conceived, or indeed in the church, which might and 
should be tolerated and healed with a spirit of meekness, 
and of which evil the church is not yet convinced (though 
perhaps himself be) nor admonished : for these or like 
reasons to withdraw from public communion, in word, 
or seals, or censures, is unlawful and sinful. 

2 Tim iv. 10. Rom. xvi. 17. Jude, 19. Eph. iv. 2, 3. Col. Hi. 13. 
Gal. vi. 1,2. 

6. Such members as have orderly removed their habi- 
tation, ought to join themselves unto the church in order 
where they do inhabit, if it may be ; otherwise they can 
neither perform the duties nor receive the privileges of 
members. Such an example tolerated in some, is apt to 
corrupt others, which if many should follow, would 
threaten the dissolution and confusion of churches, con- 
trary to the scripture. 

Isa. Ivi. 8. Acts, uc. 26. 1 Cor. xiv. S3. 

7. Order requires, that a member thus removing, have 
letters testimonial, and of dismission from the church 
whereof he yet is, unto the church whereunto he desireth 
to be joined, lest the church should be deluded ; that the 
church may receive him in faith, and not be corrupted by 
receiving deceivers, and false brethren. Until the person 
dismissed be received into another church, he ceaseth not 
by his letters of dismission to be a member of the church 
whereof he was. , The church cannot make a member no 
member, but by excommunication. 

Acts, xviii. 27. 

8. If a member be called to remove only for a time, 
where a church is, letters of recommendation are re- 
quisite, and sufficient for communion with that church, 
in the ordinances, and in their watch ; as Phcebe, a servant 


of the church at Cenchrea, had letters written for her to 
the church at Rome, that she might be received as be- 
Cometh saints. 

Rom. xvi. 1,2. £ Cor. iii. 1. 

9. Such letters of recommendation and dismisilion, 
were written for Apollos ; for Marcus to the Colossians-; 
for Phoebe to the Romans ; for sundry others to other 
churches. And the apostle telleth us, that some persons, 
not sufficiently known otherwise, hare special need of 
such letters, though he for his part had no need thereof. 
The use of them is to be a benefit and help to the party 
for whom they are written, and for the furthering of his 
receiving amongst the saints in the place whereto he 
goeth, and the due satisfaction of them in their receiving 
of him. 

Acts, xviii. S7. Col. iv. 10. Rom. xvi. 1. 2 Cor. iii. 1. 


. or excommunication, and other censures. 

1. The censures of the church are appointed by Christ 
for the preventing, removing, and healing of offences in 
the church ; for the reclaiming and gaining of offending 
brethren, for the deterring of others from the like offences ; 
for purging out the leaven which may infect the whole 
lump; for vindicating the honor of Christ, and of his 
church, and the holy profession of the gospel ; and for 
preventing of the wrath of God, that may justly fall upon 
the church, if they should suffer his covenant, and the 
seals thereof, to be profaned by notorious and obstinate 

1 Tim. V. 10. Deut. xvii. 12, 13. Jude, v. 29. Deut. xiii. 11. 1 Cor. 
V. 6. Kom. ii. 24. Kev. ii. 14, 16, 16, 20. 

2. If an offence be private, one brother offending 
another, the offender is to go and acknowledge his re- 

pentance for it unto his offended bTolhet , nvKo va ihea to 
forgive him; bat if the offender neglecl ot tei\i^^\o ^q\\.\ 


the brother offended is to ^o, and convince and admonish 
him of it, between themselves privately : if thereupon the 
offender be brought to repent of his offence, the ad- 
monisher hath won his brother ; but if the offender hear 
not his brother, the brother offended is to take with him 
one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three wit- 
nesses every word may be established— whether the word 
of admonition, if the offender receive it ; or the word of 
complaint, if he refuse it : for if he refuse it, the offended 
brother is by the month of the elders to tell the church ; 
and if he hear the church, and declare the same by 
penitent confession, he is recovered and gained : and if 
the church discern him to be willing to hear, yet not fully 
convinced of his offence, as in case of heresy, they are to 
dispense to him a public admonition ; which declaring 
the offender to lie under the public offence of the church, 
doth thereby withhold or suspend him from the holy 
fellowship of the Lord's supper, till his offence be removed 
by penitent confession. If he still continue obstinate, 
they are to cast him out by excommunication. 

Mat. Vi 23, 24. Luke, xvii. 3, 4. Mat. xviii. 15-17. Tit. iii. 10. Mat, 
xviii. ill. 

3. But if the offence be more public at first, and of a 
more heinous and criminal nature, to wit, such as are 
condemned by the light of nature; then the church, with- 
out such gradual proceeding, is to cast out the offender 
from their holy communion, for the further mortifying of 
his sin, and the healing of his soul in the day of the Lord 

1 Cor. V. 4,6, II. 

4. In dealing with an offender, great care is to be 
taken that we be neither over strict or rigorous, nor too 
indulgent or remiss : our proceeding herein ought to be 
with a spirit of meekness, considering ourselves, lest we 
also be tempted ; and that the best of us have need of 
much forgiveness from the Lord. Yet the winning and 
healing of the offender's soul, being the end of these 
endeavors, we must not daub with untempered mortar, 
nor heal the wounds of our brethren slightly. On some 
have compassion, others save wilVv feai* 

Gal. vi. /. Mat. xviii. 34, 35. Eiek. x\\\, \\>. 


5. While the offender remains excommunicate, the 
church is to refrain from all member-like communion 
with him in spiritual things, and also from all familiar 
communion with him in civil thing^, further than the 
necessity of natural, or domestical, ci^ civil relations do 
require ; and are therefore to forbear to eat and drink 
with him, that he may be ashamed. 

Mat. xviii. 17. 1 Cor. v. 11. 2 Thess. iii. 6, 14. 

6. Excommunication being a spiritual punishment, it 
doth not prejudice the excommunicate in, nor deprive 
him of his civil rights, and therefore toucheth not princes, 
or other magistrates, in point of their civil dignity or 
authority ; and, the excommunicate being but as a publi- 
can and a heathen, heathens being lawfully permitted to 
come to hear the word in church assemblies, we acknowl- 
edge therefore the like liberty of hearing the word, may 
be permitted to persons excommunicate, that is permitted 
unto heathen. And because we are not without hope of 
his recovery, we are not to account him as an enemy, but 
to admonish him as a brother. 

1 Cor. xiv. 24., 25. 2 Thess. iii. 14. 

7. If the Lord sanctify the censure to the offender, so 
as by the grace of Christ he doth testify his repentance, 
with humble confession of his sin, and judging of himself, 
giving glory unto God ; the church is then to forgive him, 
and to comfort him, and to restore him to the wonted 
brotherly communion, which formerly he enjoyed with 

2 Cor. ii. 7, 8. 

8. The suffering of profane or scandalous livers to 
continue in fellowship, and partake in the sacraments, is 
doubtless a great sin in those that have power in their 
hands to redress it, and do it not. Nevertheless, inasmuch 
as Christ and his apostles in their times, and the prophets 
and other godly in theirs, did lawfully partake of the 
Lord's commanded ordinances in the Jewish church, and 
neither taught nor practised separation from the same, 
though unworthy ones were permitted therein ; and inas- 
much as the faithful in the church of Corinth, wherein 
were many unworthy persons and practices, are never 


commanded to absent themselves from the sacraments, 
because of the same ; therefore the godlj in like cases are 
not presently to separate. 

Rev. ii. H, 15; SO. Mat. xxiii. 3. Acts, iii. 1. 1 Cor. vi., and xv. IS. 

9. As separation from such a church wherein profane 
and scandalous persons are tolerated, is not presently 
necessary ; so for the members thereof, otherwise un- 
worthy, hereupon to abstain from communicating with 
such a church in the participation of the sacraments, is 
unlawful. For as it were unreasonable for an innocent 
person to be punished for the faults of others, wherein he 
hath no hand, and whereunto he gave no consent ; so it 
is more unreasonable, that a godly man should neglect 
duty, and punish himself, in not coming for his portion in 
the blessing of the seals as he ought, because others are 
suffered to come that ought not ; especially, considering 
that himself doth neither consent to their sins, nor to their 
approaching to the ordinance in their sin, nor to the 
neglect of others who should put them away, and do not ; 
but on the contrary doth heartily mourn for these things, 
modestly and seasonably stir up others to do their duty. 
If the church cannot be reformed, they may use their 
liberty as is specified, chap. 13, sect. 4. But this all the 
godly are bound unto, even every one to do his endeavor, 
according to his power and place, that the unworthy may 
be duly proceeded against, by the church to whom this 
matter doth appertain. 

S Cbro. XXX. 18. Gen. xviii. S5. Ezek. ix. 4. 


Of tbe communion of churches one withanother. 

1. Although churches be distinct, and therefore may 
not be confounded one with another ; and equal, and 
therefore have not dominion one over another ; yet all the 
churches ought to preserve church communion one with 
another, because they are all united unto Christ, not only 


as a mystical, but as a political head, whence is derived a 
communion suitable thereunto. 

Rev. i. 4. Cant. viii. 8. Kom. xvi. IG. 1 Cor. xvi. 19. Acts, xv. 23. 
Rev. ii. 1. 

2. The communion of churches is exercised sundry 
ways. 1. By way of mutual care, in taking thought for 
one another's welfare. 2. By way of consultation one 
with another, when we have occasion to require the 
judgment and counsel of other churches, touching any 
person or cause wherewith they may be better acquainted 
than ourselves. As the church of Antioch consulted 
with the apostles and elders of the church at Jerusalem, 
about the question of circumcision of the Gentiles, and 
about the false teachers that broached that doctrine. In 
which case, when any church wanteth light or peace 
amongst themselves, it is a way of communion of 
churches, according to the word, to meet together by 
their elders and other messengers in a synod, to consider 
and argue the points in doubt or difference ; and having 
found out the way of truth and peace, to commend the 
same by their letters and messengers to the churches 
whom the same may concern. But if a church be rent 
with divisions amongst themselves, or lie under any open 
scandal, and yet refuse to consult with other churches, 
for healing or removing of the same ; it is matter of just 
offence both to the Lord Jesus, and to other churches, as 
bewraying too much want of mercy and faithfulness, not 
to seek to bind up the breaches and wounds of the church 
and brethren : and therefore the state of such a church 
calleth aloud upon other churches, to exercise a fuller act 
of brotherly communion, to wit, by way of admonition, 
3. A third way then of communion of churches, is by 
way of admonition ; to wit, in case any public offence be 
found in a church, which they either discern not, or are 
slow in proceeding to use the means for the removing and 
healing of Paul had no authority over Peter, yet when 
he saw Peter not walking with a right foot, he publicly 
rebuked him before the church. Though churches have 
no more authority one over another, than one apostle had 
over another, yet as one apostle might admonish another, 
Bo may one church admonish anolhei , ^^d ^el w\thout 
usurpation, la which case, if the cYiUTCi\iXWx\\fc>Xv\«Aft\ 


offence, do not hearken to the church that doth admonish 
her, the church is to acquaint other neighbor churches 
with that offence which the offending church still lieth 
under, together with their neglect of their brotherly ad- 
monition given unto them ; whereupon those other 
churches are to join in seconding the admonition formerly 
given ; and if still the offending church continue in 
obstinacy and impenitency, they may forbear communion 
with them, and are to proceed to make use of the help of 
a synod, or council of neighbor churches walking orderly 
(if a greater cannot conveniently be had) for their con- 
viction. If they hear not the synod, the synod having 
declared them to be obstinate, particular churches ap- 
proving and accepting the judgment of the synod, are to 
declare the sentence of non-communion respectively con- 
cerning them ; and thereupon, out of religious care to 
keep their own communion pure, they may justly with- 
draw themselves from participation with them at the 
Lord's table, and from such other acts of holy communion, 
as the communion of churches doth otherwise allow and 
require. Nevertheless, if any members of such a church 
as liveth under public offence, do not consent to the 
offence of the church, but do in due sort bear witness 
against it, they are still to be received to wonted com- 
munion ; for it is not equal that the innocent should 
suffer with the offensive. Yea, furthermore, if such 
innocent members, afler due waiting in the use of all 
good means for the healing of the offence of their own 
church, shall at last, with the allowance of the council of 
neighbor churches, withdraw from the fellowship of their 
own church, and offer themselves to the fellowship of 
another, we judge it lawful for the other church to receive 
them (being otherwise fit) as if they had been orderly 
dismissed to them from their own church. 4. A fourth 
way of communion of churches is by way of participation. 
The members of one church occasionally coming unto 
another, we willingly admit them to partake with us at 
the Lord's table, it being the seal of our communion, not 
only with Christ, nor only with the members of our own 
church, but also of all the churches of the saints ; in 
which regard, we refuse not lo W^vvl^ ^'ett Ow\^^2cl 
presented to us, if either theit own mmveXietX^ ^'aKxsX^^st 


such a fruit of holy fellowship he desired with us. In 
like case such churches as are furnished with more min- 
isters thaiL one, do willingly afford one of their own 
ministers to supply the place of an absent or sick minis- 
ter of another church for a needful season. 5. A fifth 
way of church communion is by way of recommendation, 
when the member of one church hath occasion to reside 
in another church, if but for a season, we commend him 
to their watchful fellowship by letters of recommendation ; 
but if he be called to settle his abode there, we commit 
him according to his desire, to the fellowship of their 
covenant, by letters of dismission. 6. A sixth way of 
church communion is, in case of need^ to minister relief 
and succor one unto another, either of able members, to 
furnish them with officers, or of outward support, to the 
necessities of poorer churches, as did the churches of the 
Gentiles contribute liberally to the poor saints at Jeru- 
salem. ^ 

Cant. viii. 8. Acts, xv. 2, fi, 22, 23. Ezek. xxxiv. 4. Gal. ii 11— 14. 
Malt, xviii 15, 16, 17, hy proportion. Gen xviii. 25. 1 Cor. xii. 13. Kom. 
xvi. I. Acts, xviii. 27, and xi. 22, 29. Rom. xiii. 26, 27. 

3. When a company of believers purpose to gather into 
church fellowship, it is requisite for their safer proceed- 
inor, and the maintaining of the communion of churches, 
that they signify their intent unto the neighbor churches, 
walking according unto the order of the gospel, and de* 
sire their presence, and help, and right hand of fellowship, 
which they ought readily to give unto them, when there 
is no just cause to except against their proceedings. 

Gal. ii. 1; 2, and 9, by proportion. 

4. Besides these several ways of communion, there is 
also a way of propagation of churches : when a church 
shall grow too numerous, it is a way, and fit season, to 
propagate one church out of another, by sending forth 
such of their members as are willing to remove, and to 
procure some officers to them, as may enter with them 
into church estate amongst themselves. As bees, when 
the hive is too full, issue forth by swarms, and are 
gathered into other hives ; so the churches of Christ may 
do the same upon like necessity ; and therein hold forth 
to them the right hand of fellowship, both in their gather- 

juag into' a church, and in the otduvaXvoTi o^ xi:v€\x q&<:a\«, 

Jm. xl. 20, Caut. viii. 8, 9. 



Of synods. 

1. Synods orderly assembled, and rightly proceeding 
according to the pattern, Acts 15, we acknowledge as the 
ordinance of Christ : and though not absolutely necessary 
to the being, yet many times, through the iniquity of men, 
and perverseness of times, necessary to the well-being of 
churches, for the establishment of truth and peace therein. 

Acts, XV. 2-15. 

2. Synods being spiritual and ecclesiastical assemblies, 
are therefore made up of spiritual and ecclesiastical 
causes. The next efficient cause of them under Christ, 
is the power of the churches, sending forth their elders 
and other messengers, who being met together in the 
name of Christ, are the matter of a synod ; and they in 
arguing, debating, and determining matters of religion 
according to the word, and publishing the same to the 
churches it concerneth, do put forth the proper and formal 
acts of a synod, to the conviction of errors and heresies, 
and the establishment of truth and peace in the churches, 
which is the end of a synod. 

Acts, XV. 2, 3, 6, 7-23, 31, and xvi. 4, 15. 

3. Magistrates have power to call a synod, by calling 
to the churches to send forth their elders and other mes- 
sengers, to counsel and assist them in matters of religion; 
but yet the constituting of a synod, is a church-act, and 
may be transacted by the churches, even when civil 
magistrates may be enemies to churches, and to church 

2 Chron. xxix. 4, 5-11. Acts, xv. 

4. It belongeth unto synods and councils, to debate and 
determine controversies of faith, and cases of conscience ; 
to clear from the word holy directions for the holy wor- 
ship of God, and good government of the churbh ; to bear 
witness against raal-administration and corruption in 
doctrine or manners in any paTt\c\A^t 0£vv«Oft.\ ^sA \s^ 

give directions for the refoimaUou\.\iexeibl\XL<QX\»«*Kt^>sfc 


church censures in way of discipline, nor any other act of 
church authority or jurisdiction, which that presidential 
synod did forbear. 

Acts, XV. 1, 2, 6, 7. 1 Chron. xv. 13. 2 Chron. xxix. 6, 7. Acts, xv. 24, 

5. The synod's directions and determinations, so far as 
consonant to the word of God, are to be received with 
reverence and submission ; not only for their agreement 
therewith, (which is the principal ground thereof, and 
without which they bind not at all,) but also secondarily 
for the power whereby they are made, as being an ordi« 
nance of God appointed thereunto in his word. 

Acts, XV. 

6. Because it is difficult, if not impossible, for many 
churches to come together in one place, in all their mem- 
bers universally; therefore they may assemble by their 

* delegates or messengers, as the church of Antioch went 
not all to Jerusalem, but some select men for that pur- 
pose. Because none are or should be more fit to know 
the state of the churches, nor to advise of ways for the 
good thereof, than elders ; therefore it is fit that in the 
choice of the messengets for such assemblies, they have 
qiecial respect unto such : yet inasmuch as not only Paul 
and Barnabas, but certain others also were sent to Jeru- 
salem from Antioch, and when they were come to Jerusa- 
lem, not only the apostles and elders, but other brethren 
also do assemble and meet about the matter ; therefore 
synods are to consist both of elders, and other church 
members, endued with gifls, and sent by the churches, not 
excluding the presence of any brethren in the churches. 

Acts, XV. % 22, 23. 


Of the civil ma^strate's power in matters ecclesiastical. 

1. It is lawful, profitable, and necessary for Christians 
to gather themsehes into church estate, and therein 
to exercise all the ordinances of Christ, according 


unto the word, although the consent of the magistrate 
could not be had thereunto ; because the apostles and 
Christians in their time did frequently thus practice, 
when the magistrates being all of them Jewish or pagan, 
and most persecuting enemies, would give no countenance 
or consent to such matters. 

Aets, ii. 41, 47, and iv. 1—3. 

2. Church government stands in no opposition to civil 
government of commonwealths, nor any way intrencheth 
upon the authority of civil magistrates in their jurisdio* 
tion ; nor any whit weakeneth their hands in governing, 
but rather strengtheneth them, and furthereth the people 
in yielding more hearty and conscionable obedience unto 
them, whatsoever some ill affected persons to the ways of 
Christ have suggested, to alienate the affections of kings 
and princes from the ordinances of Christ ; as if the 
kingdom of Christ in his church could not rise and stand, 
without the falling and weakening of their government, 
which is also of Christ : whereas the contrary is most 
true, that they may both stand together and flourish, the 
one being helpful unto the other, in their distinct and due 

John, xviii. 36. Acts, xxv. 8. Isa. xlix. 23. 

3. The power and authority of magistrates is not for 
the restraining of churches, or any other good works, but 
for helping in and furthering thereof; and therefore the 
consent and countenance of magistrates, when it may be 
had, is not to be slighted, or lightly esteemed; but on the 
contrary, it is part of that honor due to Christian magis* 
trates, to desire and crave their consent and approbation 
therein ; which being obtained, the churches may then 
proceed in their way with much more encouragement and 

Rom. xiii. 4. 1 Tim. ii. 2. 

4. It is not in the power of magistrates to compel thciir 
subjects to become church members, and to partake at 
the Lord's table ; for the priests are reproved that brought 
unworthy ones into the sanctuary : Then as it was unlaw-^ 
ful for the priest, so it is as unlawful to be done by civil 
magistrates. Those whom the church is to cast out if thty 


were in, the magistrate ought not to thrust them into the 
church, nor to hold them therein. 

Ezek. xliv. 7, 9. 1 Cor. ▼. 1 1. 

5. As it is unlawful for church officers to meddle with 
the sword of the magistrate, so it is unlawful for the 
magistrate to meddle with the work proper to church 
officers. The acts of Moses and David, who were not 
only princes, but prophets, were extraordinary, therefore 
not imitable. Against such usurpation, the Lord wit- 
nessed, by smiting Uzziah with leprosy, for presuming to 
offer incense. 

Blatt. ii. 25, 26. 2 Chron. xxvi. 16, 17. 

6. It is the duty of the magistrate to take care of mat- 
ters of religion, and to improve his civil authority for the 
observing of the duties commanded in the first, as well as 
for observing of the duties commanded in the second 
table. They are called gods. The end of the magis- 
trate's office, is not only the quiet and peaceable life of 
the subject in matters of righteousness and honesty, but 
also in matters of godliness, yea, of all godliness. Moses, 
Joshua, David, Solomon, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, 
Josiah, are much commended by the Holy Ghost, for the 
putting forth their authority in matters of religion : on 
the contrary, such kings as have been failing this way, 
are frequently taxed and reproved by the Lord. And not 
only the kings of Judah, but also Job, Nehemiah, the 
king of Nineveh, Darius, Artaxerxes, Nebuchadnezzar, 
whom none looked at as types of Christ, (though were it 
BO, there were no place for any just objection,) are com- 
mended in the book of God, for exercising their authority 
this way. 

Psalm Ixxxii. 2. 1 Tim. ii. l, 2. 1 Kings, xv. 14, and xxii. 43. 2 Kings, 
xii. 3; and xiv. 4, and xv. 35. 1 Kings^ xx. 42. Job, xxix. ^5, and xxxi. ^, 
28. Meh. xiil. Jonah, iii. 7. Ezra, vii. Dan. iii. 29. 

7. The object of the power of the magistrate are not 
things merely inward, and so not subject to his cogni- 
zance and view, as unbelief, hardness of heart, erroneous 
opinions not vented, but only such things as are acted by 
the outward man ; neither is their power to be exercised 
in commanding such acts of the ovxtwaid ixvwv^ wvd ^un- 

isbing tike neglect thereof, as are Wliaexe mNeaV\aii& «sA 


devices of men ; but about such acts as are commanded 
and forbidden in the word ; yea, such as the word doth 
clearly determine, though not always clearly to the 
judgment of the magistrate or others, yet clearly in itself. 
In these he of right ought to put forth his authority, 
though ofl-times actually he doth it not. 

1 Kings, XX. 28, 42. 

8. Idolatry, blasphemy, heresy, venting corrupt and 
pernicious opinions that destroy the foundation, open 
contempt of the word preached, profanation of the Lord's 
day, disturbing the peaceable administration and exercise 
of the worship and holy things of God, and the like, are 
to be restrained and punished by civil authority. 

Deut. xiii. I Kings, xx. 28, 42. Dan. iii. 29. 2^h. xiii. 3. Neh. xiii. 
31. 1 Tim. ii. 2. Kom. xiii. 4. 

9. If any church, one or more, shall grow schismatical, 
rending itself from the communion of other churches, or 
shall walk incorrigibly or obstinately in any corrupt way 
of their own, contrary to the rule of the word ; in such 
case the magistrate is to put forth his coercive power, aa 
the matter shall require. The tribes on this side Jordan 
intended to make war against the other tribes, for build- 
ing the altar of witness, whom they suspected to have 
turned away therein from following of the Lord. 

Josh. xxii. 




Owned and consented unto by the Elders and Messenjers of the Chorchee 

assembled at Boston in New England, 

111 U, 1680, 

BI190 THE 8IC0HD 8I9810H OF THAT 8T90D. 


The Lord Jesus Christ witnessed a good confession, at the 
time when he said, To this end was I bom, and for this cause 
came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the 
truth ; and he taketh notice of it, to the praise and hi«;h com- 
mendation of the church in Pergamos, that they held fast his 
name, and had not denied his faith. Nor are they worthy of 
the name of Christians, who, though the Lord by his providence 
call them publicly to own the truth they have professed, shall 
nevertheless refuse to declare what they believe, as to those 
great and fundamental principles in the doctrine of Christ, the 
knowledge whereof is necessary unto salvation. We find how 
ready the Apostle was to make a confession of his faith ; though 
for that hope's sake he was accused and put in chains. And 
the Martyrs of Jesus, who have laid down their lives in bearing 
witness to the truth, against the infidelity, idolatry, heresy, 
apostasy of the world, when Pagan, Arian, or overspread with 
Popish darkness : Having their feet shod with the preparation 
of the gospel of peace, were free and forward in their testi- 
mony, confessing the truth, yea, sealing it with their blood. 
With the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the 
mouth confession is made unto salvation, Rom. x. 10. Nor is 
there a greater evidence of being in a state of salvation, than 
such a confession, if made in times or places where men are 
exposed to utmost sufifering upon that account 1 John, iv. 15. 
And if confession of faith be, in some cases, of such importance 
and necessity, as hath been expressed ; it must needs be in 
itself, a work pleasing in the aigYil o^ (aQ^^^Qt>K^a^«w^x^5^^ft 
declare unto the world, what \hQBe •^raaY^"^% ^^ \3n^ ^fs^-k 


which they have received, and are (by the help of Chiist) pur- 
posed to live and die in the stedfast profession of. Some of 
the LfOrd's worthies have been of renown among his people in 
this respect ; especially Ineneus and Athanasius of old, and of 
latter times Beza, all whose (not to mention others) confessions, 
with the advantage which the church of God hath received 
thereby, are famously known. 

And it must needs tend much to the honor of the dear and 
blessed name of the Lord Jesus, in case many churches do join 
together in their testimony. How signally the Lord hath owned 
the confession of the four general Synods or Councils for the 
suppression of the heresies of those times, needs not to be said, 
since no man can be ignorant thereof, that hath made it his 
concern to be acquainted with things of this nature. The con- 
fession of the Bohemians, of the Waldenses, and of the reform- 
ed Protestant churches abroad, all these have been of singular 
use, not only to those that lived in the ages when these declara- 
tions were emitted, but unto postetity, yea, unto this day. 

There have been some who have reflected upon these New- 
English churches, for our defect in this matter, as if our prin- 
ciples were unknown ; whereas it is well known, that as to 
matters of doctrine, we agree with other reformed churches : 
nor was it that, but what concerns worship and discipline, that 
caused our fathers to come into this wilderness, while it was a 
land not sown, that so they might have liberty to practice 
accordingly. And it is a ground of holy rejoicing before the 
Lord, that now there is no advantage left for those that may be 
disaffected towards us, to object any thing of that nature against 
us. For it hath pleased the only wise God so to dispose in his 
providence, as that the elders and messengers of the churches 
in the colony of the Massachusetts in New- England, did, by 
the call and encouragement of the honored general Court, 
meet together Sept 10, 1679. This Synod at their second 
session, which was May 12, 1680, consulted and considered of 
a Confession of Faith. That which was consented unto by the 
elders and messengers of the Congregational churches in Eng- 
)and, who met at the Savoy, (being fot \3i« toDil ^tV acme 
smAlI vsmatioDM excelled, the same iiixh tbaX ^Vur^l ^^ «.^\«^ 


upon first by the Assembly at Westminster, and was approved 
of by the Synod at Cambridge in New-England, anno 1648, as 
also by a general assembly in Scotland,) was twice publicly 
read, examined and approved of: that little variation which we 
have made from the one, in compliance with the other, may be 
seen by those who please to compare them. But we have (for 
the main) chosen to express ourselves in the words of those 
reverend assemblies, that so we might not only with one heart, 
but with one mouth glorify God, and our Lord Jesus Christ 

As to what concerns church-government, we refer to the 
Platform of Discipline agreed upon by the messengers of these 
churches anno 1648, and solemnly owned and confirmed by 
the late Synod. 

What hours of temptation may overtake these churches, is 
not for us to say. Only the Lord doth many times so order 
things, that when his people have made a good confession, 
they shall be put upon the triah one way or other, to see 
whether they have (or who among them hath not) been sincere 
in what they have done. The Lord grant that the loins of our 
minds may be so girt about with truth, that we may be able to 
withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 



Of the Holy Scriptures. 

Although the light of nature, and the works of 
creation and providence, do so far manifest the goodness, 
wisdom and power of God, as to leave men unexcusable ; 
yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God 
and of his will, which is necessary unto salvation : there* 
fore it pleased the Lord at sundry times and in divers 
manners to reveal himself, and to declare that his will 
unto his church ; and afterwards for the better preserving 
and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure 
establishment and comfort of the church against the cor- 
ruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the 
world, to commit the same wholly to writing : which 
maketh the Holy Scripture to be most necessary ; those 
former ways of God's revealing his will unto his people 
being now ceased. 

II. Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the word of 
God written, are now contained all the books of the Old 
and New Testament, which are these : 


Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, 
Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I Samuel, 2 Samuel, I Kings, 
2 Kings, I Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, 
Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Song of 
Songs, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Danie], 
Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, 
Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zachariah, Malacbi. 



Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, the Acts of the Apostles, 
Paul's Epistle to the Romans, I Corinthians, 2 Corinthi- 
ans, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thes- 
salonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 to Timothy, 2 to Timothy, 
to Titus, to Philemon, the Epistle to the Hebrews, the 
Epistle of James, the first and second Epistles of Peter, 
the first, second and third Epistles of John, the Epistle of 
Jude, the Revelation. 

All which are given by the inspiration of God to be 
the rule of faith and life. 

III. The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being 
of divine inspiration, are no part of the canon of the 
scripture ; and therefore are of no authority in the church 
of God, nor to be any otherwise approved or made use of, 
than other human writinors. 


IV. The authority of the holy scripture, for which it 
ought to be believed and obeyed, dependeth not upon the 
testimony of any man or church, but wholly upon God 
(who is truth itself) the author thereof; and therefore it 
is to be received, because it is the word of God. 

V. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of 
the church, to an high and reverend esteem of the holy 
scripture. And the heavenliness of the matter, the 
efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the 
consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is, 
to give all glory to God) the full discovery it makes of the 
only way of man's salvation, the many other incompara- 
ble excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are 
arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to 
be the word of God ; yet notwithstanding, our full per- 
suasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine 
authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy 
Spirit, bearing witness by and with the word in our 

VI. The whole counsel of God concerning all things 
necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, faith and 
life, is either expressly set down in scripture, or by good 
and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scrip- 
ture ; unto which nothing at any time is to be added, 
whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of 
men. Nevertheless we acknowledge the inward illumina- 


tion of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving 
understanding of such things as are revealed in the word: 
and that there are some circumstances concerninsr the 
worship of God and government of the church, common 
to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered 
by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according 
to the general rules of the word, which are always to be 

VII. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in 
themselves, nor alike clear unto all : yet those things 
which are necessary to be known, believed and observed 
for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in 
some place of Scripture or other, that not only the 
learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary 
means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of 

VIII. The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the 
native language of the people of God of old) and the 
New Testament in Greek (which at the time of writing 
of it was most generally known to the nations) being 
immediately inspired by God, and by his singular care 
and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore 
authentical ; so as in all controversies of religion, the 
church is finally to appeal unto them. But because these 
original tongues are not known to all the people of God, 
who have right unto and interest in the Scriptures, and 
are commanded in the fear of God to read and search 
them ; therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar 
language of every nation unto which they come, that the 
word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship 
him in an acceptable manner, and through patience and 
comfort of the Scriptures may have hope. 

IX. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture, 
is the Scripture itself; and therefore when there is a 
question about the true and full sense of any Scripture 
(which is not manifold, but one) it must be searched and 
known by other places, that speak more clearly. 

X. The Supreme Judge by which all controversies of 
religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, 
opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men and private 
spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are 
to rest, can be no other, but the holy Scripture delivered 


by the Spirit; into which Scripture so delivered, our 
Faith is finally resolved. 


or God and of the Holy Trinitj. 

There is but one only living and true God ; who is 
infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisi- 
ble, without body, parts, or passions, immutable, immense, 
eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most 
holy, most fi'ee, most absolute, working all things accord- 
inor to the counsel of his own immutable and most 
righteous will, for his own glory, most loving, gracious, 
merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, 
forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin, the rewarder of 
them that diligently seek him, and withal, most just and 
terrible in his judgments, hating all sin, and who will by 
no means clear the guilty. 

II. God hath all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in, 
and of himself, and is alone in, and unto himself, all-suffi- 
cient, not standing in need of any creatures which he hath 
made, nor deriving any glory from them, but only mani- 
festing his own glory in, by, unto and upon them. He is 
the alone fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, 
and to whom are all things : and hath most sovereign do- 
minion over them, to do by them, for them, or upon them, 
whatsoever himself pleaseth : in his sight all things are 
open and manifest, his knowledge is infinite, infallible and 
independent upon the creature, so as nothing is to him 
contingent or uncertain. He is most holy in all his coun- 
sels, in all his works, and in all his commands. To him 
is due from angels and men, and every other creature, 
whatsoever worship, service or obedience, as creatures, 
they owe unto the Creator, and whatever he is further 
pleased to require of them. 

III. In the unity of the God-head there be three 
persons, of one substance, power, and eternity, God the 
Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost : the 
Father is of none, neither begotton, nor proceeding ; the 


Son is eternally begotten of the Father ; the Holy Ghost 
eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son. 
Which doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation of all 
our communion with God, and comfortable dependence 
upon him. 


Of God's eternal Decree. 

God from all eternity did by the most wise and holy 
counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain 
whatsoever comes to pass : yet so, as thereby neither is 
God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will 
of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of 
second causes taken away, but rather established. 

II. Although God knows whatsoever may or can come 
to pass upon all supposed conditions, yet hath he not 
decreed any thing, because he foresaw it as future, or as 
that which would come to pass upon such conditions. 

III. By the decree of God for the manifestation of his 
glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto ever- 
lasting life, and others foreordained to everlasting death. 

IV. These angels and nfen thus predestinated, and 
foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, 
and their number is so certain and definite, that it cannot 
be either increased or diminished. 

V. Those of mankind that are predestinated unto life, 
God, before the foundation of the world was laid, accord- 
ing to his eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret 
counsel and good pleasure of his will, hath chosen in 
Christ unto everlasting glory, out of his mere free grace 
and love, without any foresight of faith or good works, or 
perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the 
creature, as conditions or causes moving him thereunto, 
and all to the praise of his glorious grace. 

VI. As God hath appointed the elect unto glory, so 
hath he by the eternal and most free purpose of his will 
foreordained all the means thereunto : wherefore they 
who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by 
Christ, are effectually called unto faith in Christ by his 
Spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted, 



sanctified, and kept by his power, through faith, rnito 
salvation. Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, or 
effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified and saved, 
but the elect only. 

VII. The rest of mankind God was pleased, according 
to the unsearchable counsel of his own will, whereby he 
extendeth or withholdeth mercy, as he pleaseth, for the 
glory of his sovereign power over his creatures, to pass 
by, and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their 
sin, to the praise of his glorious justice. 

VIII. The doctrine of this high mystery of predestina- 
tion, is to be handled with special prudence and care, 
that men attending the will of God revealed in his word, 
and yielding obedience thereunto, may firom the certainty 
of their effectual vocation, be assured of their eternal 
election. So shall this doctrine afford matter of praise, 
reverence and admiration of God, and of humility, 
diligence, and abundant consolation to all that sincerely 
obey the gospel. 


Of Creation. 

It pleased God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, for 
the manifestation of the glory of his eternal power, 
wisdom and goodness, in the be^nning to create or 
make of nothing the world, and all things therein, 
whether visible or invisible, in the space of six days, and 
all very good. 

II. ARer God had made all other creatures, he created 
man, male and female, with reasonable and immortal 
souls, endued with knowledge, righteousness and true 
K holiness, after bis own image, having the law of God 
1 written in their heart, and power to fulfil it ; and yet 
I under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the 
I liberty of their own will, which was subject, to change. 
A Besides this law written in their hearts, they received a 
A command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good 
j \ and evil ; which while they kept, they were happy in 
\their communion with God, and had dominion over the 
I jcreatures. 




Of Provtdeiice. 

God the great Creator of all things, doth uphold, direct, 
dispose and govern all creatures, actions and things, from 
the greatest even unto the least, by his most wise and 
holy providence, according to his infallible foreknowledge 
and the free and immutable counsel of his own will, to 
the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, 
goodness and mercy. 

II. Although in relation to the foreknowledge and de- 
cree of God, the first cause, all things come to pass immu- 
tably, and infallibly ; yet by the same providence he or- 
dereth them to fall out, according to the nature of second 
causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently. 

III. God in his ordinary providence maketh use of 
means, yet is free to work without, above, and against 
them at his pleasure. 

IV. The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom and the 
infinite goodness of God, so far manifest themselves in his 
providence, in that his determinate counsel extendeth 
itself even to the first fall, and all other sins of angels and 
men, (and that not by a bare permission,) which also he 
most wisely and powerfully boundeth, and otherwise 
ordereth and governeth in a manifold dispensation, to his 
own most holy ends, yet so as the sinfulness thereof pro- 
ceedeth only from the creature, and not from God, who 
being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the 
author or approver of sin. 

V. The most wise, righteous, and gracious God doth 
ofltimes leave for a season his own children to manifold 
temptations, and the corruption of their own hearts, to 
chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto 
them the hidden strength of corruption, and deceitfulness 
of their hearts, that ihey may be humbled, and to raise 
them to a more close and constant dependence for their 
support upon himself, and to make them more watchful 
against ail future occasions of sin, and for sundry other 
just and holy ends. 

VI. As for those wicked and ungodly men, whom God 


as a righteous judge for former sins, doth blind and harden, 
from them he not only withholdeth his grace, whereby 
they might have been enlightened in their understandings, 
and wrought upon in their hearts ; but sometimes also 
withdraweth the gifls which they had, and exposeth them 
to such objects as their corruption makes occasions of sin ; 
and withal gives them over to their own lusts, the tempta- 
tions of the world, and the power of Satan, whereby it 
comes to pass that they harden themselves, even under 
those means which God useth for the softening of others. 
VII. As the providence of God doth in general reach 
to all creatures, so after a most special manner it taketh 
care of his church, and disposeth all things for the good 


Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment thereof. 

God having made a covenant of works and life there- 
upon, with our first parents, and all their posterity in 
them, they being seduced by the subtilty and temptation 
of Satan, did wilfully transgress the law of their creation, 
and break the covenant in eating the forbidden fruit. 

il. By this sin they, and we in them, fell from original 
righteousness and communion with God, and so became 
dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the faculties and 
parts of soul and body. 

III. They being the root, and by God's appointment 
standing in the room and stead of all mankind, the guilt 
of this sin was imputed, and corrupted nature conveyed 
to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary 

IV. From this original corruption, whereby we are 
utterly indisposed, disabled and made opposite to all good, 
and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual 

V. This corruption of nature during this life, doth 
remain in those that are regenerated ; and although it 
be through Christ pardoned and mortified, yet both itself 
and all the motions thereof are truly and properly sin. 


VI. Erery sin, both original and actual, being a trans- 
gression of the righteous law of God, and contrary there- 
unto, doth in its own nature bring guilt upon the sinner, 
whereby he is bound over to the wrath of God, and curse 
of the law, and so made subject to death, with all miseries, 
spiritual, temporal and eternal. 


Of God's Covenant with Man. 

The distance between God and the creature is so great, 
that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience to 
him as their Creator, yet they could never have attained 
the reward of life, but by some voluntary condescension 
on God's part, which he hath been pleased to express by 
way of covenant. 

II. The first covenant made with man, was a covenant 
of works, wherein life was promised to Adam, and in him 
to his posterity, upon condition of perfect and personal 

III. Man by his fall having made himself uncapable of 
life by that covenant, the Lord was pleased to make a 
second, commonly called the covenant of grace ; wherein 
he freely ofiereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus 
Christ, requiring of thenr faith in him that they may be 
saved, and promising to give unto all those that are 
ordained unto life, his Holy Spirit to make them willing 
and able to believe. 

IV. This covenant of grace is frequently set forth in 
scripture by the name of a testament, in reference to the 
death of Jesus Christ the testator, and to the everlasting 
inheritance, with all things belonging to it, therein be^ 

V. Although this covenant hath been differently and 
variously administered, in respect of ordinances and insti- 
tutions in the time of the law, and since the coming of 
Christ in the flesh ; yet for the substance and efficacy of 


it, to all its spiritual and saving ends, it is one and the 
same ; upon the account of which various dispensations, 
it is called the Old and New Testament. 


Of Christ, the Mediator. 

It pleased God in his eternal purpose, to choose and 
ordain the Lord Jesus his only begotten Son, according 
to a covenant made between them both, to be the mediap 
tor between God and man : the prophet, priest and king, f 
the head and saviour of his church, the heir of all things, 
and judge of the world : unto whom he did from all eter- 
nity give a people to be his seed, and to be by him in 
time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified and glorified. \^ 

II. The Son of God, the second person in the Trinity, 
being very and eternal God, of one substance, and equal 
with the Father, did, when the fullness of time was come, 
take upon him man's nature, with all the essential prop- 
erties and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin, 
being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost in the 
womb of the virgin Mary, of her substaupe : so that two 
whole, perfect and distinct natures, the Godhead and the 
manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, 
without conversion, composition, or confusion ; which 
person is very God and very man, yet one Christ, the only 
mediator between God and man. 

III. The Lord Jesus in his human nature, thus united 
to the divine in the person of the Son, was sanctified and 
anointed with the Holy Spirit above measure, having in 
him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, in whom 
it pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell, to the 
end that being holy, harmless, undefiled, and full of grace 
and truth, he might be thoroughly furnished to execute ' 
the officepf a mediator and surety ; which office he took 
not unto himself, but was thereunto called by his Father, 
who also put all power and judgment into his hand, and 
gave him commandment to execute the same. 


IV. This office the Lord Jesus Christ did most wil- 
lingly undertake ; which that he might discharge, he was 
made under the law, and did perfectly fulfil it, and under- 
went the punishment due to us, which we should have 
borne and suffered, being made sin and a curse for us, 
enduring most grievous torments immediately from God 
in his soul, and most painful sufferings in his body, was 
crucified, and died, was buried, and remained under the 
power of death, yet saw no corruption, on the third day 
he arose from the dead with the same body in which he 
suffered, with which also he ascended into heaven, and 
there sitteth at the right hand of his Father, making 
intercession, and shall return to judge men and angels 
at the end of the world. 

V. The Lord Jesus by his perfect obedience and sacri- 
fice of himself, which he through the eternal Spirit once 
offered up unto God, hath fully satisfieji_the Justice of 
God, and purchased not only reconcTliation, but an ever- 
lasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, for all those 
whom the Father hath given unto him. 

VI. Although the work of redemption was not actually 
wrought by Christ ^tilLafter his incarnation, yet the virtue, 
efficacy and benefits thereof were communicated to the 
elect in all ages successively from the beginning of the 
world, in and by those promises, tjpes and sacrifices, 
wherein he was revealed and signified to be the seed ojf 
the woman, which should bruise the serpent's head, and 
the Lamb slain from the beginning of the world, being 
yesterday and to-day the same, and forever. 

VIL Christ in the work of mediation acteth according 
to both natu res, by each nature doing that which is 
proper to itself ; yet by reason of the unity of the person, 
that which is proper to one nature, is sometimes in scrip- 
ture attributed to the person denominated by the other 

VIII. To all those for whom Christ hath purchased 
redemption, he doth certainly and effectually apply and 
communicate the same, making intercession for them, 
and revealing unto them in and by the word, the myste- 
ries of salvation, effectually persuading them by his Spirit 
to believe and obey, and governing their hearts by his 
word and Spirit, overcoming all their enemies by his 


almighty power and wisdom, in such manner and ways as 
are most consonant to his wonderful and unsearchable 


Of Free-will. 

God hath endued the will of man with that natural lib- 
erty and power of acting upon choice, that it is neither 
forced, nor by any absolute necessity of nature determined 
to do good or evU. 

II. Man in his state of innocency had freedom and 
power to will and to do that which was good and well 
pleasing to God ; but yet mutably, so that he might fall 
from it. 

III. Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost 
all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying sal- 
vation, so as a natural man being altogether averse from 
that good, and dead in sin, is not able by his own strength 
to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto. 

IV. When God converts a sinner, and translates him 
into the state of grace, he freeth him from his natural 
bondage under sin, and by his grace alone enables him 
freely to will and to do that which is spiritually good ; yet 
so, as that by reason of his remaining corruption, he doth 
not perfectly nor only will that which is good, but doth 
also will that which is evil. 

V. The will of man is made perfectly and immutably 
free to good alone in the state of glory only. 


Of Effectual Calling. 

All those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and 
those only, he is pleased in his appointed and accepted 


time, efTectually to call by his word and Spirit out of that 
state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to 
grace and salvation by Jesus Christ, enlightening their 
minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of 
God, taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto 
them an heart of flesh, renewing their wills, and by his 
almighty power determining them to that which is good, 
and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ ; yet so, as 
they come most freely, being made willing by his grace. 

II. This effectual call is of God's free and special 
grace alone, not from any thing at all foreseen in man, 
who is altogether passive therein, until being quickened 
and renewed by the Holy Spirit, he is thereby enabled to 
answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and 
conveyed in it. • 

III. Elect infants dying in infancy, are regenerated and 
saved by Christ, who worketh when, and where, and how 
he pleaseth : so also are all other elect persons, who are 
uncapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of 
the word. 

IV. Others not elected, although they may be called 
by the ministry of the word, and may have some common 
operations of the Spirit, yet not being effectually drawn 
by the Father, they neither do nor can come unto Christ, 
and therefore cannot be saved ; much less can men not 
professing the Christian religion, be saved in any other 
way whatsoever, be they never so diligent to frame their 
lives according to the light of nature, and the law of that 
religion they do profess : and to assert and maintain that 
they may, is very pernicious, and to be detested. 


Of Justification. 

Those whom God effectually calleth, he- also jfreely 
justifieth, not by infusing righteousness into them, but by 
pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting 
their persons as righteous, not for any thing wrought in 



them, or done by them, but for Christ's sake alone ; nor 
by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other 
eYangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness, but 
by imputing Christ's active obedience unto the whole 
law, and passive obedience in his sufferings and death, 
for their whole and sole righteousness, they receiving and 
resting on him and his righteousness by faith; which 
faith they have not of themselves, it is the gift of God. 

II. Faith thus receiying and resting on Christ, and his 
righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification ; 
yet it is not aione in the person justified, but is ever ac- 
companied with all other saving graces, and is no dead 
faith, but worketh by love. 

III. Christ by his obedience and death did fully dis- 
charge the debt of all those that are justified, and did by 
the sacrifice of himself, in the blood of his cross, under- 
going in their stead the penalty due unto them, make a 
proper, real and full satisfaction to God's justice in their 
behalf; yet inasmuch as he was given by the Father for 
them, and his obedience and satisfaction accepted in their 
stead, and both freely, not for any thing in them, their 
justification is only of free grace, that both the exact jus- 
tice and rich grace of God might be glorified in the justi- 
fication of sinners. 

IV. God did from all eternity decree to justify all the 
elect, and Christ did in the fullness of time die for their 
sins, and rise again for their justification : nevertheless, 
they are not justified personally, until the Holy Spirit 
doth in due time actually apply Christ unto them. 

V. God doth continue to forgive the sins of those that 
are justified ; and although they can never fall from the 
state of justification, yet they may by their sins fall under 
God's fatherly displeasure: and in that condition they 
have not usually the light of his countenance restored 
unto them, until they humble themselves^ confess their 
sins, beg pardon, and renew their faith and repentance. 

VI. 'The justification of believers under the Old Testa- 
ment, was in all these respects one and the same with the 
justification of believers under the New Testament. 



Of Adoption. 

All those that are justified, God Youchsafeth in and 
for his only Son Jesus Christ to make partakers of the 
grace of adoption, by which they are taken into the num- 
ber, and enjoy the liberties and privileges of the children 
of God, have his name put upon them, receive the spirit 
of adoption, have access to the throne of grace with bold- 
ness, are enabled to cry Abba Father, are pitied, pro- 
tected, provided for, and chastened by him as by a father, 
yet never cast off, but sealed to the day of redemption, 
and inherit the promises as heirs of everlasting salvation. 


Of Sanctification. 

Thet that are effectually called and regenerated, being 
united to Christ, having a new heart, and a new spirit 
created in them, through the virtue of Christ's death and 
resurrection, are also further sanctified really and person- 
ally through the same virtue, by his word and Spirit 
dwelling in them, the dominion of the whole body of sin 
is destroyed, and the several lusts thereof are more and 
more weakened and mortified, and they more and more 
quickened and strengthened in all saving graces, to the 
practice of all true holiness, without which no man shall 
see the Lord. 

II. This sanctification is throughout in the whole man, 
jet imperfect in this life, there abide still some remnants 
of corruption in every part, whence ariseth a continual 
and irreconcilable war, the flesh lusting against the spirit, 
and the spirit against the flesh. 

III. In which war, although the remaining corruption 


for a time may much prevail, yet through the continual 
supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, 
the regenerate part doth overcome, and so the saints grow 
in grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. 


Of Saving Faith. 

The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to 
believe to the saving of their souls, is the work of the 
Spirit of Christ in their hearts, and is ordinarily wrought 
by the ministry of the word ; by which also, and by the 
administration of the seals, prayer and other means, it is 
increased and strengthened. 

II. By this faith a Christian believeth to be true what- 
soever is revealed in the word, for the authority of God 
himself speaking therein, and acteth differently upon that 
which each particular passage thereof containeth, yield- 
ing obedience to the commands, trembling at the threat- 
enings, and embracing the promises of God for this life, 
and that which is to come. But the principal acts of 
saving faith are, accepting, receiving and resting upon 
Christ alone, for justification, sanctification, and eternal 
life, by virtue of the covenant of grace. 

III. This faith, although it be different in degrees, and 
may be weak or strong, yet it is in the least degree of it 
different in the kind or nature of it (as is all other sav- 
ing grace) from the faith and common gr^ce of tempoN- 
rary believers; and thEriglbre, though it may'^be inany 
times assailed and weakened, yet it gets the victory^ 
growing up in many to the attainment of a full assurance 
through Christ, who is both the author and finisher of our 



Of Repentance unto Life and Salvation. 

Such of the elect as are converted at riper years, hav* 
ing sometime lived in the state of nature, and therein 
served divers lusts and pleasures, God in their effectual 
calling, giveth them repentance unto life. 

II. Whereas there is none that doeth good, and sinneth 
not, and the best of men may through the power and de* 
ceitfulness of their corruptions dwelling in them, with the 
prevalency of temptation, fall into great sins and provo- 
cations; God hath in the covenant of grace mercifully 
provided, that believers so sinning and falling, be renewed 
through repentance unto salvation. 

III. This saving repentance is an evangelical grace, 
whereby a person being by the Holy Ghost made sensible 
of the manifold evils of his sin, doth by faith in Christ 
humble himself for it with godly sorrow, detestation of it, 
and self-abhorrency, praying for pardon and strength of 
grace, with a purpose and endeavor by supplies of the 
Spirit, to walk before God unto all well pleasing in all 

IV. As repentance is to be continued through the 
whole course of our lives, upon the account of the body 
of death, and the motions thereof; so it is every man's 
duty to repent of his particular known sins, particularly. 

V. Such is the provision which God hath made through 
Christ in the covenant of grace, for the preservation of 
believers unto salvation, that although there is no sin so 
small, but it deserves damnation, yet there is no sin so 
great, that it shall bring damnation, on them who truly 
repent ; which makes the constant preaching of repentance 




Of Good Works. 

Good works are only such as God hath commanded in 
his holy word, and not such as without the warrant thereof 
are devised by men out of blind zeal, or upon any pre- 
tence of good intentions. 

II. These good works done in obedience to God*s com- 
mandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and 
lively faith, and by them believers manifest their thank- 
fulness, strengthen their assurance, edify their brethren, 
adorn the profession of the gospel, stop the mouths of 
the adversaries, and glorify God, whose workmanship 
they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto, that having 
their fruit unto holiness, they may have the end eternal 

III. Their ability to do good works is not at all of 
themselves, but wholly from the Spirit of Christ: and that 
they may be enabled thereunto, besides the graces they 
have already received, there is required an actual influ- 
ence of the same Holy Spirit to work in them to will and 
to do, of his good pleasure ; yet are they not hereupon to 

§row negligent, as if they were not bound to perform any 
uty, unless upon a special motion of the Spirit, but they 
ought to be diligent in stirring up the grace of God that 
is in them. 

IV. They who in their obedience attain to the greatest 
height which is possible in this life, are so far from being 
able to supererogate, and to do more than God requires, 
as that they faU short of much^ which in duty they are 
bound to do. 

V. We cannot by our best works merit pardon of sin, 
or eternal life at the hand of God, by reason of the great 
disproportion that is between them, and the glory to come ; 
and the infinite distance that is between us and God, 
whom by them we can neither profit, nor satisfy for the 
debt of our former sin ; but when we have done all we 
can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable 
servants; and because as they are good, they proceed 


from his Spirit, and as they are wrought by us, they are 
defiled and mixed with so much weakness and imperfec- 
tion, that they cannot endure the severity of God's judg- 

VI. Yet notwithstanding, the persons of believers being 
accepted through Christ, their good, works also are ac- 
cepted in him, not as though they were in this life wholly 
unblamable and unreprovable in God's sight, but that he 
looking upon them in his Son, is pleased to accept and 
reward that which is sincere, although accompanied with 
many weaknesses and imperfections. 

VII. Works done by unregenerate men, although for 
the matter of them, they may be things which God com- 
mands, and of good use both to themselves and to others ; 
yet because they proceed not from an heart purified by 
faith, nor are done in a right manner, according to the 
word, nor to a right end, the glory of God ; they are 
therefore sinful, and cannot please God, nor make a man 
meet to receive grace from God ; and yet their neglect of 
them is more sinful and displeasing to God. 


Of the Perseverance of the Saints. 

They, whom God hath accepted in his Beloved, effect- 
ually called and sanctified by his Spirit, can neither totally 
nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall cer- 
tainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally 

II. This perseverance of the saints depends not upon 
their own free-will, but upon the immutability of the de- 
cree of election, from the free and unchangeable love of 
God the Father, upon the efficacy of the merit and inter- 
cession of Jesus Christ, and union with him, the oath of 
God, the abiding of his Spirit, and the seed of God within 
them, and the nature of the covenant of grace, from ail 
which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereofl 


III. And though they may through the temptation of 
Satan, and of the world, the prevalency of corruption re- 
maining in them, and the neglect of the means of their 
preservation, fall into grievous sins, and for a time con- 
tinue therein, whereby they incur God's displeasure, and 
grieve his Holy Spirit, come to have their graces and 
comforts impaired, have their hearts hardened, and their 
consciences wounded, hurt and scandalize others, and 
bring temporal judgments upon themselves ; yet they are 
and shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto 


or the Assurance of Graee and Salvation. 

Although temporary believers, and other unregenerate 
men may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes and 
carnal presumptions of being in the favor of God, and 
state of salvation, which hope of theirs shall perish, yet 
such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love him in 
sincerity, endeavoring to walk in all good conscience be- 
fore him, may in this life be certainly assured that they 
are in the state of grace, and may rejoice in the hope of 
the glory of God, which hope shall never make them 

II. This certainly is not a bare conjectural and prob- 
able persuasion, grounded upon a fallible hope, but an 
infallible assurance of faith, founded on the blood and 
righteousness of Christ, revealed in the gospel, and also 
upon the inward evidence of those graces, unto which 
promises are made, and on the immediate witness of the 
Spirit, testifying our adoption, and as a fruit thereof, 
leaving the heart more humble and holy. 

III. This infallible assurance doth not so belong to the 
essence of faith, but that a true believer may wait long, 
and conflict with many difficulties before he be partaker 
of it ; yet being enabled by the Spirit to know the things 
which are freely given him of God, he may without extrar 
ordinary revelation, in the right use of ordinary means 


attain thereunto ; and therefore it is the duty of every 
one to' give ail diligence to make his calling and election 
sure, that thereby his heart may be enlarged in peace and 
joy in the Holy Ghost, in love and thankfulness to God, 
and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedi- 
ence, the proper fruits of this assurance ; so far is it from 
inclining men to looseness. 

IV. True believers may have the assurance of their 
salvation divers ways shaken, diminished and intermitted, 
as by negligence in preserving of it, by falling into some 
special sin, which woundeth the conscience, and grieveth 
the Spirit, by some sudden or vehement temptation, by 
God's withdrawing the light of his countenance, suffering 
even such as fear him to walk in darkness, and to have 
no light ; yet are they neither utterly destitute of that 
seed of God, and life of faith, that love of Christ and 
the brethren, that sincerity of heart and conscience of 
duty, out of which by the operation of the Spirit, this as- 
surance may in due time be revived, and by the which in 
the mean time they are supported from utter despair. 


Of the Law of God. 

God gave to Adam a law of universal obedience writ- 
ten in his heart, and a particular precept of not eating the 
fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, as a cov- 
enant of works, by which he bound him and all his pos- 
terity to personal, entire, exact and perpetual obedience, 
promised life upon the fulfilling, and threatened death 
upon the breach of it, and endued him with power and 
ability to keep it. 

II. This law, so written in the heart, continued to 
be a perfect rule of righteousness after the fall of man, 
and was delivered by God on Mount Sinai in ten com- 
mandments, and written in two tables ; the four first com- 
mandments containing our duty towards God, and the 
other six our duty to man. 


m. Beside this law commonly called moral, God wi 
pleased to give to the people of Israel, as a church unde 
age, ceremonial laws, containing several typical ordi 
nances, partly of worship, prefiguring Christ, his graces, 
actions, sufferings and benefits, and partly holding forth 
divers instructions of moral duties : all which ceremonial 
laws being appointed only to the time of reformation, are 
by Jesus Christ the true Messiah and only lawgiver, who 
was furnished with power from the Father for that end, 
abrogated and taken away. 

IV. To them also he gave sundry judicial laws, which 
expired together with the state of that people, not obliging 
any now by virtue of that institution, their general equity 
only being still of moral use. 

V. The moral law doth forever bind all, as well justi- 
fied persons as others, to the obedience thereof; and that 
not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also 
in respect of the authority of God the Creator, who gave 
it : neither doth Christ in the gospel any way dissolve, but 
much strengthen this obligation. 

VI. Although true believers be not under the law, as a 
covenant of works, to be thereby justified or condemned, 
yet it is of great use to them as well as to others, in that, 
as a rule of life, informing them of the will of God, and 
their duty, and directs and binds them to walk accord- 
ingly, discovering also the sinful pollutions of their nature, 
hearts and lives, so as examining themselves thereby, they 
may come to further conviction of, humiliation for, and 
hatred against sin, together with a clearer sight of the 
need they have of Christ, and the perfection of his obedi- 
ence. It is likewise of use to the regenerate, to restrain 
their corruptions, in that it forbids sin, and the threaten- 
ings of it serve to show what even their sins deserve, and 
what afflictions in this life they may expect for them, 
although freed from the curse thereof threatened in the 
law. The promises of it in like manner show them God*8 
approbation of obedience, and what blessings they may 
expect upon the performance thereof, although not as due 
to them by the law, as a covenant of works ; so as a 
man's doing good, and refraining from evil, because the 
law encourageth to the one, and deCerreth from the other, 
is no evidence of his being under the law, and not under 


Vn. Neither are the forementioned uses of the law 
contrary to the grace of the gospel, but do sweetly com- 
ply with it, the Spirit of Christ sabduing and enabling 
the will of man to do that freely and cheerfully, which 
the will of God revealed in the law required to be done. 


Of the Gospel, and of the Extent of the Grace thereof. 

The covenant of works being broken by sin, and made 
unprofitable unto life, God was pleased to give unto the 
elect the promise of Christ, the seed of the woman, as the 
means of calling them, and begetting in them faith and 
repentance. In this promise, the gospel, as to the sub- 
stance of it, was revealed, and was therein effectual for 
the conversion and salvation of sinners. 

II. This promise of Christ, and salvation by him, is 
revealed only in and by the word of God ; neither do the 
works of creation or providence, with the light of nature, 
make discovery of Christ, or of grace by him, so much as 
in a general or obscure way ; much less that men desti- 
tute of the revelation of him by the promise or gospel, 
should be enabled thereby to attain saving faith or repent- 

III. The revelation of the gospel unto sinners made in 
divers times, and by sundry parts, with the addition of 
promises and precepts for the obedience required therein, 
as to the nations and persons to whom it is granted, is 
merely of the sovereign will and good pleasure of God, 
not being annexed by virtue of any promise to the due 
improvement of men's natural abilities, by virtue of com- 
mon light received without it, which none ever did make, 
or can so do : and therefore in all ages the preaching of 
the gospel hath been granted unto persons and nations, as 
to the extent or straightening of it, in great variety, ac- 
cording to the counsel of the will of God. 

IV. Although the gospel be the ©nly outward means of 
revealing Christ and saving grace, and is, as such, abun-' 


dantlj sufficient thereunto ; jet that men who are dead 
in trespasses, may be born again, quickened or regen- 
erated, there is moreover necessary an effectual, irresis- 
tible work of the Holy Ghost upon the whole soul, for the 
producing in them a new spiritual life, without which no 
other means are sufficient for their conversion unto God. 


or Christian Liberty, and Liberty of Conscience. 

The liberty which Christ hath purchased for believers 
under the gospel, consists in their freedom from the guilt 
of sin, the condemning wrath of God, the rigor and curse 
of the law, and in their being delivered from this present 
evil world, bondage to Satan, and dominion of sin, from 
the evil of afllictions, the fear and sting of death, the vic- 
tory of "the grave, and everlasting damnation; as also in 
their free access to God, and their yielding obedience 
unto him, not out of slavish fear, but a childlike love and 
willing mind : all which were common also to believers 
under the law, for the substance of them, but under the 
New Testament the liberty of Christians is further en- 
larged in their freedom from the yoke of the ceremonial 
law, the whole legal administration of the covenant of 
grace, to which the Jewish church was subjected, and in 
greater boldness of access to the throne of grace, and in 
fuller communications of the free Spirit of God, than be- 
lievers under the law did ordinarily partake of. 

H. God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left 
it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, 
which are in any thing contrary to his word, or not con- 
tained in it ; so that to believe such doctrines, or to obey 
such commands out of conscience, is to betray true liberty 
of conscience, and the requiring of an implicit faith, and 
an absolute and blind obedience, is to destroy liberty of 
conscience, and reason also. 

III. They who upo» pretence of Christian liberty do 
practise any sin, or cherish any lust, as they do thereby 


pervert the main design of the grace of the gospel to their 
own destruction, so they wholly destroy the end of Chris- 
tian liberty, which is, that being delivered out of th« 
hands of our enemies, we might serve the Lord without 
fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all the days 
of our life. 


Of Religious Worship, and of the Sabbath Day. 

The light of nature showeth that there is a God, who 
hath lordship and sovereignty over all, is just, good, and 
doth good unto all, and is therefore to be feared, loved, 
praised, called upon, trusted in, and served with all the 
heart, and all the soul, and with all the might; but the 
acceptable way of worshipping the true God, is instituted 
by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that 
he may not be worshipped according to the imaginations 
and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under 
any visible representations, or any other way not pre- 
scribed in the Holy Scriptures. 

II. Religious worship is to be given to God the Father, 
Son, and JEIoly Ghost, and to him alone ; not to angels, 
saints, or any other creature ; and since the fall, not with- 
out a Mediator, nor in the mediation of any other but of 
Christ alone. 

III. Prayer with thanksgiving, being one special part 
of natural worship, is by God required of all men ; but 
that it may be accepted, it is to be made in the name of 
the Sun, by the help of his Spirit, according to his will, 
with understanding, reverence, humility, fervency, faith, 
love and perseverance : and when with others in a known 

IV. Prayer is to be made for things lawful, and for all 
sorts of men living, or that shall live hereafter, but not for 
the dead, nor for those of whom it may be known that 
they have sinned the sin unto death. 

V. The reading of the Scriptures, preaching and hear- 



ing of the word of God, singing of psalms, as also the ad- 
ministration of baptism and the liord's supper, are all 
parts of religious worship of God, to be performed in obe- 
clience unto God, with understanding, faith, reverence 
ttnd godly fear. Solemn humiliations with fastings, and 
thanksgiving upon special occasions, are in their several 
times and seasons to be used in an holy and religious 

VI. Neither prayer nor any other part of religious wor- 
ship, is now under the gospel either tied unto, or made 
more acceptable by any place in which it is performed, or 
towards which it is directed : but God is to be worshipped 
everywhere in spirit and in truth, as in private families 
daily, and in secret each one by himself, so more solemnly 
in the public assemblies, which are not carelessly nor 
wilfully to be neglected or forsaken, when God by his 
word or providence calleth thereunta 

VII. As it is of the law of nature, that in general t 
proportion of time by God's appointment be set apart for 
the worship of God ; so by his word in a positive, moral 
«nd perpetual commandment, binding all men in all ages, 
he hath particularly appointed one day in seven for a Sab- 
bath to be kept holy unto him, which from the beginning 
of the world to the resurrection of Christ, was the last 
day of the week, and from the resurrection of Christ, was 
changed into the first day of the week, which in Scripture 
is called the Lord's day, and is to be continued to the 
end of the world as the Christian Sabbath, the observation 
of the last day of the week being abolished. 

VIII. This Sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, 
when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and 
ordering their common affairs beforehand, do not only 
observe an holy rest all the day from their own works, 
words and thoughts about their worldly employments and 
recreations, but also are taken Mp the whole time in the 
public and private exercises of his worship, and in the 
duties of necessity and mercy. 



Of Lawful Oaths and Vows. 

A LAWFUL oath is a part of religious worship, wherein 
the person swearing in truth, righteousness, and judg- 
ment, solemnly calleth God to witness what he assertetb 
or promiseth, and to judge him according to the truth or 
falsehood of what he sweareth. 

II. The name of God only is that by which men ought 
to swear, and therein it is to be used with all holy fear 
and reverence ; therefore to swear vainly or rashly by 
that glorious and dreadful name, or to swear at all by any 
other thing, is sinful, and to be abhorred; yet as in mat- 
ters of weight and moment an oath is warranted by the 
word of God, under the New Testament, as well as under 
the old ; so a lawful oath, being imposed by lawful author- 
ity in such matters, ought to be taken. 

III. Whosoever taketh an oath warranted by the word 
of God, ought duly to consider the weightiness of so sol- 
emn an act, and therein to avouch nothing but what he ift 
fully persuaded is the truth : neither may any man bind 
himself by oath to any thing, but what is good and just^ 
and what he believeth so to be, and what he is able and 
resolved to perform. Yet it is a sin to refuse an oatli 
touching anything that is good and just, being lawfully, 
imposed by authority. 

IV. An oath is to be taken in the plain and common 
sense of the words, without equivocation, or mental reser- 
vation. It cannot oblige to sin, but in anything not sin- 
ful being taken, it binds to performance, although to a 
man's own hurt ; nor is it to be violated, although made 
to heretics or infidels. 

V. A vow, which is not to be made to any creature^ 
but God alone, is of the like nature with a promissory 
oath, and ought to be made with the like religious care, 
and to be performed with the like faithfulness. 

VI. Popish monastical vows of perpetual single life, 
professed poverty, and regular obedience, are so far from 
being degrees of higher perfection, that they are supersti- 
tious and sinful snares, in which no Christian may en- 
tangle himself. 



Of the Civil ftlagistrate. 

God, the supreme Lord and King of all the world, hath 
ordained civil magistrates to be under him, over the 
people for his own glory and the public good ; and to this 
end hath armed them with the power of the sword, for the 
defence and encouragement of them that do good, and 
for the punishment of evil doers. 

II. It is lawful for Christians to accept and execute the 
office of a magistrate, when called thereunto: in the man- 
agement whereof, as they ought especially to maintain 
piety, justice and peace, according to the wholesome laws 
of each commonwealth, so for that end they may lawfully 
now under the New Testament wage war^upon just and 
necessary occasion. ^ 

III. They, who upon pretence of Christian liberty shall 
oppose any lawful power, or the lawful exercises of it, re- 
sist the ordinance of God, and for their publishing of such 
opinions, or maintaining of such practices as are contrary 
to the light of natqre, or to the known principles of Chris- 
tianity, whether concerning faith, worship or conversation, 
or to the power of godliness, or such erroneous opinions or 
practices, as either in their own nature, or in the manner 
of publishing or maintaining them, are destructive to the 
external peace and order which Christ hath established in 
the church, they may lawfully be called to account, and 
proceeded against by the censures of the church, and bjr^ 
the power of the civil magistrate ; yet in such differences 
about the doctrines of the gospel, or ways of the worship 
of God, as may befall men exercising a good conscience, 
manifesting it in their conversation, and holding the 
foundation, and duly observing the rules of peace and 
order, there is no warrant for the magistrate to^abri^ge 
them of their liberty. 

IV. It is the duty of people to pray for magistrates, to 
honor their persons, to pay them tribute and other dues, 
to obey their lawful commands, and to be subject to their 
authority for conscience sake. Infidelity, or difference in 
religion^ doth not make Toid the magistrate's just and 


legal authority, nor free the people from their due obedi- 
ence to him : from which ecclesiastical persons are not 
exempted, much less hath the pope any power or jurisdic- 
tion over them in their dominions, or over any. of their 
people, and least of all to deprive them of their domin- 
ions or lives, if he shall judge them to be heretics, or upon 
any othS^pretence whatsoever. 


Of Marriage. 

Marriage is to be between one man and one woman : 
neither is it lawful for any man to have more than one 
wife, nor for any woman to have more than one husband 
at the same time. 

II. Marriage was ordained for the mutual help of hus- 
band and wife, for the increase of mankind with a legiti- 
mate issue, and of the church with an holy seed, and for 
preventing of uncleanness. 

III. It is lawful for all sorts of people to marry, who 
are able with judgment to give their consent. Yet it is 
the duty of Christians to marry in the Lord, and therefore 
such as profess the true reformed religion, should not 
marry with infidels, papists, or other idolaters: neither 
should such as are godly, be unequally yoked by marrying 
such as are wicked in their life, or maintain damnable 

IV. Marriage ought not to be within the degrees of 
consanguinity or affinity forbidden in the word, nor can 
such incestuous marriages ever be made lawful by any 
law of man, or consent of parties, so as those persons may 
live together as man and wife. 




or the Church. 

The catholic or universal church, which is invisible^ 

\ consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, 

are, or shall be gathered into one under Christ, the Head 

thereof, and is the spouse, the body, the fullness of him 

that filleth all in all. 

II. The whole body of men throughout the world, pro- 
fessing the faith of the gospel, and obedience unto God 
by Christ according unto it, not destroying their own 
profession by any errors everting the foundation, or un- 
holiness of conversation, they and their children with 
them are, and may be called the visible catholic jch urcji 
of Christ, dthough as such it is not intrusted with any 
officers to rule or govern over the whole body. 

III. The purest churches under heaven are subject 
both to mixture and error, and some have so degenerated 
as to become no churches of Christ, but synagogues of 
Satan : nevertheless Christ always hath had, and ever shall 
have a visible kingdom in this world, to the end thereof, of 
such as believe in him, and make profession of his name. 

IV. There is no other head of the church but the Lord 
Jesus Christ, nor can the pope of Rome in any sense be 
head thereof, but is that antichrist, that man of sin, and 
son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the church 
against Christ, and all that is called God, whom the Lord 
shall destroy with the brightness of his coming. 

V. As the Lord in his care and love towards his church, 
hath in his infinite wise providence, exercised it with great 
variety in all ages for the good of them that love him, and 
his own glory ; so according to his promise, we expect thai 
in the latter days antichrist being destroyed, the Jews 
called, and the adversaries of the kingdom of his dear Son 
broken, the churches of Christ being enlarged and edified, 
through a free and plentiful communication of light and 
grace, shall enjoy in this world a more quiet, peaceable 
and glorious condition, than they have enjoyed. 



Of the Communion of Saints. 

All saints that are united to Jesus Christ their Head 
by his Spirit and faith, although they are not made thereby 
one person with him, have fellowship in his graces, suffer- 
ings, death, resurrection and glory : and being united to 
one another in love, they have communion in each other's 
gifls and graces, and are obliged to the performance of 
such duties, public and private, as do conduce to their 
mutual good, both in the inward and outward man. 

II. All saints are bound to maintain an holy fellowship 
and communion in the worship of God, and in performing 
such other spiritual services as tend to their mutual edifi- 
cation : as also in relieving each other in outward things, 
according to their several abilities and necessities : which 
communion, though especially to be exercised by them in 
the relations wherein they stand, whether in families or 
churches, yet as God offereth opportunity, is to be ex- 
tended unto all those who in every place call upon the 
name of the Lord Jesus. 


Of the Sacraments. 

Sacraments are holy signs and seals of the covenant 
of grace, immediately instituted by Christ, to represent 
him and his benefits, and to confirm our interest in him, 
and solemnly to engage us to the service of God in Christ, 
according to his word. 

II. There is in every sacrament a spiritual relation, or 
sacramental union between the sign and the thing signi- 
fied ; whence it comes to pass, that the names and effects 
of the one are attributed to the other. 

in. The grace which is exhibited in or by the sacrar 


tnents rightly used, is not conferred by any power in 
them, neither doth the efficacy of a sacrament depend 
upon the piety or intention of him that doth administer it, 
but upon the work of the Spirit, and the word of institu- 
tion, which contains together with a precept authorizing 
the use thereof, a promise of benefit to worthy receivers. 

IV. There be only two sacraments ordained by Christ 
our Lord in the gospel, that is to say, baptism and the 
Lord's supper ; neither of which may be dispensed by 
any but by a minister of the word lawfully called. 

V. The sacraments of the Old Testament, in regard of 
the spiritual things thereby signified and exhibited, were 
for substance the same with those of the New. 


Of Baptism. 

Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, or- 
dained by Jesus Christ, to be unto the party baptized a 
sign and seal of the covenant of grace, of his ingrafting 
into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of 
his giving up unto God through Jesus Christ, to walk in 
newness of life; which ordinance is by Christ's own ap- 
pointment to be continued in his church, until the end of 
the world. 

II. The outward element to be used in this ordinance 
is water, wherewith the party is to be baptized in the 
name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy 
Ghost, by a minister of the gospel lawfully called there- 

III. Dipping of the person into the water is not neces- 
sary, but baptism is rightly administered by pouring <^ 
sprinkling water upon the person. 

IV. Not only those that do actually profess faith in, 
and obedience unto Christ, but also the infants of one or 
both believing parents are to be baptized, and those only. 

V. Although it be a great sin to contemn or neglect 
this ordinance, yet grace and salvation are not so insepa- 


rably annexed to it, as that no person can be regenerated 
or saved without it ; or that all that are baptized are un- 
doubtedly regenerated. 

VI. The efficacy of baptism is not tied to that moment 
of time wherein it is administered, yet notwithstanding, 
by the right use of this ordinance, the grace promised is 
not only offered, but really exhibited and conferred by the 
Holy Ghost to such (whether of age or infants) as that 
grace belongeth unto, according to the counsel of God's 
own will in his appointed time. 

VII. Baptism is but once to be administered to any 


Of the Lord's Supper. 

Our Lord Jesus in the night wherein he was betrayed, 
instituted the sacrament of his body and blood, called the 
Lord's supper, to be observed in his churches to the end 
of the world, for the perpetual remembrance, and showing 
forth of the sacrifice of himself in his death, the sealing 
of all benefits thereof unto true believers, their spiritual 
nourishment and growth in him, their further engage- 
ment in and to all duties which they owe unto him, and 
to be a bond and pledge of their communion with him, 
and with each other. 

II. In this sacrament Christ is not offered up to his 
Father, nor any real sacrifice made at all for remission of 
sin of the quick or dead, but only a memorial of that one 
offering up of himself upon the cross once for all, and a 
spiritual oblation of all possible praise unto God for the 
same ; so that the popish sacrifice of the mass (as they 
caJl it) is most abominably injurious to Christ's own only 
sacrifice, the alone propitiation for all the sins of the elect. 

III. The Lord Jesus hath in this ordinance appointed 
his ministers to declare his word of institution to the 
people, to pray and bless the elements of bread and wine, 
and thereby to set them apart from a common to an holy 


use, and to take and break the bread, to take the cup, 
and (they communicating a]so themselves) to give both 
to the communicants, but to none who are not then pres- 
ent in the congregation. 

IV. Private masses, or receiving the sacrament by a 
priest, or any other alone, as likewise the denial of the 
cup to the people, worshipping the elements, the lifting 
them up, or carrying them about for adoraticm, and the 
reserving them for any pretended religious use, are all 
contrary to the nature of this sacrament, and to the insti- 
tution of Christ. 

V. The outward elements in this sacrament duly set 
apart to the uses ordained by Christ, have such relation 
to him crucified, as that truJy, yet sacraroentally only, 
they are sometimes called by the name of the things they 
represent, to wit, the body and blood of Christ ; albeit in 
substance and nature they still remain truly and only 
bread and wine as they were before. 

VI. That doctrine which maintains a change of the 
substance of bread and wine, into the substance of 
Christ's body and blood (commonly called transubstantia- 
tion) by consecration of a priest, or by any other way, is 
repugnant not to the scriptures alone, but even to com- 
mon sense and reason, overthroweth the nature of the 
sacrament, and hath been, and is the cause of manifold 
superstitions, yea, of gross idolatries. 

VII. Worthy receivers outwardly partaking of the vis- 
ible elements in this sacrament, do then also inwardly by 
faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally, 
but spiritually, receive and feed upon Christ crucified, and 
all benefits of his death ; the body and blood of Christ 
being then not corporally or carnally in, with, or under 
the bread and wine, yet as really, but spiritually present 
to the faith of believers in that ordinance, as the elements 
themselves are to their outward senses. 

VIII. All ignorant and ungodly persons, as they are 
unfit to enjoy communion with Christ, so are they un- 
worthy of the Lord's table, and cannot without great sin 
against him, whilst they remain such, partake of these 
holy mysteries, or be admitted thereunto ; yea, whosoever 
shall receive unworthily, are guilty of the body and blood 
of the Lord, eating and drinking judgment to themselves. 



Of the State of Man aAer Death, and of the Resurrection of the Dead. 

The bodies of men after death return to dust, and see 
corruption ; but their souls (which neither die nor sleep) 
having an immortal substance, immediately return to Goa 
who gave them, the souls of the righteous being then 
made perfect in holiness, are received into the highest 
heavens, where they behold the face of God in light and 
glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies : and 
the souls of the wicked are cast into hell, where they re- 
main in torment and utter darkness, reserved to the judg- 
ment of the great day : basides these two places of souls 
separated from their bodies, the scripture acknowledgeth 

II. At the last day such as are found alive shall not die, 
but be changed, and all the dead shall be raised up with 
the selfsame bodies, and none other, although with differ- 
ent qualities, which shall be united again to their souls 

III. The bodies of the unjust shall by the power of 
Christ be raised to dishonor ; the bodies of the just by 
his Spirit unto honor, and be made conformable to his 
own glorious body. 


Of the Last Judgment. 

God hath appointed a day wherein he will judge the 
world in righteousness by Jesus Christ, to whom all 
power and judgment is given by the Father : in which 
day, not only the apostate angels shall be judged, but 
likewise all persons that have lived upon earth, shall ap- 
pear before the tribunal of Christ, to give an account of 
their thoughts, words and deeds, and to receive according 
to what they have done in the body, whether good or evil. 


n. The end of God's appointing this day, is for the 
manifestation of the glory of his mercy in the eternal sal- 
vation of the elect, and of his justice in the damnation of 
the reprobate, who are wicked and disobedient : for then 
shall the righteous go into everlasting life, and receive that 
fullness of joy and glory, with everlasting reward in the 
presence of the Lord, but the wicked, who know not God, 
and obey not the gospel of Jesus Christ, shall be cast into 
eternal torments, and be punished with everlasting de- 
struction from the presence of the Lord, and from the 
glory of his power. 

III. As Christ would have us to be certainly persuaded 
that there shall be a judgment, both to deter all men from 
sin, and for the greater consolation of the godly in their 
adversity ; so will he have that day unknown to men, that 
they may shake off all carnal security, and be always 
watchful, because they know not at what hour the Lord 
will come, and may be ever prepared to say, Come, Lord 
Jesus, come quickly. Amen. 



J W i^ri 

NOV *^ 3 1998 

jy^Hr'-i984jun o 6 2003 

MAR- 94-438 0- 

J«*— H887 


3 2044 023 317 159 


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